The Giving Season
A devotional by Christa MacDonald
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
–Acts 20:35 (NIV)
Do you have your Christmas tree up yet?
We’re planning to do ours this weekend.
There’s something so cheerful about Christmas lights that they’re the one thing I will not procrastinate on when it comes to Christmas. I love sitting in the family room at night with just the lights from the tree shining. It has its own comforting charm. Boy, do we all need comforting. The world outside is fractious. There’s a lot of pressure in the holiday season, and this year it’s compounded by the places you can’t go, people you can’t see, and gatherings you can’t have. You can still ship gifts in from all over the world and back out again, but being present with your presents is out. It can make that shopping and wrapping feel a little empty.
In the verse above, we see Paul giving final parting instructions to people that he is sure he will never see again. Among those instructions is the reminder to work hard at what God has given you and help the weak, because it is better to give than to receive. I think there’s a potent message for us in this verse at this particular time. People of faith need to be present in their communities, actively helping the weak regardless of what that “weakness” looks like.
At our churches, we need to be sure we’re plugged in to our communities, offering whatever assistance we can to help those struggling in this challenging time. It can be as easy as calling a senior at a nursing home, writing cards, or leaving care packages on someone’s doorstep, but we need to be actively giving of ourselves. God put us here to be salt and light. He put each of us in our neighborhood, at our church, in our workplace for a reason. There are people we’re meant to serve, even if right now it has to be at a distance. God has placed us here for just such a time as this!
One of the most painful things about this pandemic has been how isolated people feel. These small acts of kindness can help ease that loneliness, as imperfect as they are. We all must reach out to those around us, checking in with each other, seeing where the needs are. And to be open when others reach out to help us. I can’t remember who said this, but I’ve often repeated it to myself: We need to practice our humility so someone else can practice their charity. Be humble enough to share your needs when asked and to accept the help that’s offered. These kinds of connections are a great way to embrace opportunities to share the Gospel.
It’s often by sharing ourselves, giving our time and energy to others that we find ourselves restored. Here’s my advice to you this holiday season: Pray for outreach opportunities then see how God leads you to connect with your church and your community.
Get out there and be the Love of God in someone’s life!
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.
She began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. After publishing a few short pieces in her college’s literary magazine she took a long hiatus during which she embarked on a few different careers, got married, had three kids, and renovated an old barn masquerading as a house.
Her most recent work, The Redemption Road, finished the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.
When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty. She and her family live along the coast of New England.
Connect with Christa:
Christa's book publisher: http://mountainbrookink.com/about-us/authors/christa-macdonald/
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