Many years ago, our church started a Christmas emphasis called “Spend Less, Give More.” We encouraged everyone to spend less on themselves in order to be more generous during Christmas. We were able to bless others in need, both locally and globally. It also changed our family’s perspective of Christmas. To this day Linda and I don’t buy any gifts for each other in order to give more to others (and besides, we don’t need anything).
Sadly, Christmas can bring out our selfishness. We want more! We become consumed by consumerism. One poll indicated that 71% of us feel stressed about money. Some of this stress is legitimate, but most is “manufactured greed.” That is especially true when you think that one billion people live on less than $2 per day. Most of us have more than enough!
Hear this: The remedy for our obsession over more money and more things is simple: GIVE! The Bible says that it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Here are some reasons to make Christmas the season for giving.
• Giving is an act of GRATITUDE (the past).
All good things come from God (James 1:17), and when we give, it helps us acknowledge that. What we have is not our own, but on loan for a little while. It all belongs to God. Giving says “thank you” to God for His provisions. Gratitude also has the added benefit of releasing us from the grip of greed. Choosing to be grateful will make giving easier, and giving will help gratitude flow!
• Giving is an act of PRIORITY (the present).
You can tell a person’s priorities by looking at two things – their checkbook and their calendar. The Bible says that “where my treasure is, there is my heart, also” (Matthew 6:21). So whether it is financial treasure or the scarce resource of time, giving can align your heart with Kingdom values.
• Giving is an act of FAITH (the future).
When we give, we lose control. It is an act of trusting God for our future. For many, giving doesn’t make sense. We are taught to get everything we can. There is nothing that moves us from a scarcity mindset to a sense of contentment like the faith required by generosity. Moreover, God says that we can store our treasures, not on this earth where it will never last, but in heaven (Matthew 6:20).
BEFORE YOU GO
On a practical note, this year there are some special tax deductions. We attend Mountain View Church, and they recently shared this about giving to the church and other ministries:
Cash gifts with special 2021 rules. For donors who want or need to make gifts of cash, there are some special benefits in 2021. Normally, donors who itemize may deduct cash gifts up to 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). For 2021, this limitation is removed. This year only, outright gifts of cash are deductible up to 100% of a donor’s AGI. Donors considering this should discuss it fully with their advisors. Also, donors who do not itemize now get an above-the-line charitable tax deduction of $300 ($600 married, filing jointly).
Remember that Christmas reflects the greatest giving of all – God sent His Son to us! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God is the greatest giver!
So pray about giving more this Christmas then look with new eyes for needs you can meet. The Bible says that each of us “should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
…’Tis the Season!