If you give gladly, even if you give only a little, it is a big gift. If you give unwillingly, even if you give a big gift, you turn it into a small one. – St. John Chrysostom“And though every day a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet is it in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year.” – St. John Chrysostom – “The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers”
Giving your family, friends, Church and fellow church members Christian gifts as Christmas gifts will be truly special to their lives all year long. They serve as a reminder of our love for Christ, and our Father in Heaven. They will also serve as symbols of encouragement. They emphasize on our family core values that all Christians hold dear, and want to pass along to all. They are a visual reminder of the Christian way of life for anyone who displays them.
Christian giving is the grace of God at work, the free-flow of God’s activity consistent with His character. Since God is the owner and giver of all things, we are but trustees, managers, stewards of Another’s goods. God entrusts some things to us whatever He can trust us with. It is not “my” home, “my” car, “my” money, or even “my” child. I must avoid being “possessive.” I am just a trustee of God’s possessions. In fact, I do not even “possess” salvation or eternal life. Christ who is “Life” (John 14:6) and is the Savior, possesses me! Christian giving is the grace of God functioning in and through a Christian, the givingness of God expressed in the character of a Christian.
The result of genuine Christian giving will be “thanksgiving to God” (II Corinthians 9:11,12). Thanksgiving which recognizes the “good grace” of God in the midst of the giving and the supply of the need. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable and inexpressible gift in Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 9:15).
So if we should give what should we think about? There are several good guides out there, though one of them is the advice from Dave Ramsey in his 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Gift.
Orthodox Christian living is Christian giving! Genuine Orthodox Christians who are submitting themselves to their Faith in Jesus Christ and are listening to God in obedience, cannot help but express the character of God’s givingness. There will be no need to beg or cajole these Christians to give. No genuine Christian can say, “Well, it’s just not my nature to give.” As Christians we are “partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4), and God’s nature is a giving nature. As God lives in us He gives through us. Such is Christian giving, the expression of God’s grace!
Are you truly living the life of an Orthodox Christian? Or are you just one in name only? Are you a giver just at this time of the year, or year round? You have to decide, as I also have to decide.