The Kinds of Gifts That Keep on Giving

In the next few hours, you may have more stuff than you’ve had all year — some expected, others a surprise; some practical, others sentimental; some useful, and others not as much.

It might be the latest television or phone or video game system or kitchen appliance, or gift cards to your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or department store. You may unwrap beautiful jewelry or tickets to a big game or a night out without the kids.

They’re all great for a time and should be enjoyed as fully as they can be to the glory of God, from whom every good and perfect gift comes (James 1:17). But your joy doesn’t need to end with you this Christmas. Not only the gifts we give but also the gifts we receive are opportunities to overflow in love into the lives and needs of those around us.

A Reward in Regifting?

With all we receive over the next couple days, we can dream a little about how some of our gifts might be repurposed to serve others. We don’t need to be shy or ashamed about enjoying the gifts ourselves, but maybe there’s a bigger joy for those who share in order to make others happy.

Perhaps instead of eating every dollar of the Chipotle gift card, we could double the blessing and treat someone else. When we open a new Magic Bullet, we could plan to make a meal for the neighbors or bake a dessert for co-workers. If we add clothes to our closet or upgrade our electronics, we could donate older ones to families who need them.

Paul encouraged the Ephesians to work hard not simply so that they could provide for themselves, but so that they could share with anyone in need (Ephesians 4:28). God gives us wealth — cash, gift cards, books, toys — for the purpose of generosity (1 Timothy 6:18), because richness flowing freely into poverty (of whatever kind) reveals his great love for us through Jesus (2 Corinthians 8:9).

A Joy Shared Is a Joy Tripled

As we share, others get to enjoy what God has given us. Their needs are met. They have what they might not have had otherwise. They are introduced to the loving generosity of the one, true, and living God through the sacrificial sharing of his people.

They benefit, but we also get joy. It may seem sweet to get, get, get for Christmas, but the Bible promises it is more blessed — sweeter — to give than to receive (Acts 20:34–35). It’s how God’s world works. As we give what’s ours to serve others, we know and feel more of what Christ has given us in full forever by serving us on the cross. Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The role model for our Christmas celebrations became a ransom for us, and we enjoy more of him when we give like he gives.

And sweetest of all, the God of glory will get joy by our sharing. The author of Hebrews writes, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16). Pleasing to God. When our stuff and our hope flow freely into the lives of others, God rejoices. He takes pleasure when we provide for others. He loves to lavish his children with things that allow them to love others in turn.

So multiply your joy by sharing it this Christmas. Let all you’ve received in Christ — forgiveness, eternal life, and every good thing you have — be an excuse to pass along the pleasure to another, increasing your joy and pleasing the Giver.