ODJ: give freely

December 2, 2015 

READ: Proverbs 11:23-25 

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed (v.25).

In my corner of the world, one of the most popular Christmas practices is to decorate one’s home inside and outside. Many put up real or artificial pine trees, adorn them with all sorts of colorful ornaments, and top them off with an angel or star. Some string up enough lights on the outside of their houses to illuminate a small city. Others simply hang evergreen boughs over their windows and doors.

I have a friend who decks out her car with fake reindeer antlers and a bright red nose on the front of her vehicle. Then there are those who create interesting Christmas displays—such as my friend whose yard has an inflatable Santa Claus on a motorcycle placed alongside a life-sized nativity scene. Hmm . . .

Regardless of the outcomes, decorating can get us in a festive mood. But nothing gets us into the spirit of the season more than the tradition of giving. We give gifts to others in celebration of our Creator God’s ultimate gift of love and goodwill—Jesus, who has brought “great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10-11).

One of the most moving examples of giving I’ve come across is found in the book Christmas Jars. The book promotes the year-round practice of placing leftover pocket change into a glass jar. Then, when the week of Christmas arrives, you’ll have a nice sum of money to give to someone in need. This generous practice reflects Solomon’s words in Proverbs: “Give freely . . . those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (11:24-25).

This Christmas season, as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, think about what you can “give freely” to those in need. As you share generously, you’ll be living out the Christ-honoring tradition of giving.

—Jeff Olson

365-day-plan: Ephesians 6:10-20

Read 2 Corinthians 9:7 and note the type of giver “God loves.” 
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? How has God revealed His heart of generous giving for us to imitate?