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The true essence of Christmas generosity

Christmas crib
Christmas crib | Getty Images/ Pascal Deloche

The Christmas season can feel rushed and hectic. It is far too easy to fall prey to focusing on meals, gifts, and travel plans. Schedules that are littered with events and concentrated on meeting obligations can leave us exhausted and far from the true reason for the season.

Christmas is about Jesus. This celebration begs us to focus on the awe and wonder of the Incarnation. We hail the birth of the Messiah who came to bring an end to our striving and to bring us peace.

Pause and think about it. The King of Glory humbled Himself and was born into our messy world. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, and Everlasting Savior. The reality of what Jesus sacrificed to be born into His creation cannot help but boggle our minds. Our Savior who rightly deserves all the praise of the universe stepped out of Heaven and allowed Himself to be born in obscurity divorced from the praise rightly due Him.

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At Christmas time, we often focus only upon the gift that Jesus came to bring without really diving into the price He paid to give it.

Jesus gave up the splendor of Heaven and the praise of the heavenly host to be born to a young virgin in a stable hewn out for animals. I believe the juxtaposition has purpose just like every other detail of the redemption story. God orchestrated a difference so stark that we cannot help but see the depth of Jesus’ love and sacrifice to conquer sin and death. That conquering was present in the manger not just at the cross.

So, what are we to take away from this perspective? Christmas is not only about the gift of salvation that began in the incarnation but also about the generosity of God who spared not even His own Son to defeat sin and restore its devastation.

As much as Easter, Christmas should remind us of the sacrificial generosity found most fully in Jesus, and it should propel us to act in ways that reflect the sacrifice and kindness of our Savior.

As Christians, we have this special time of year when the world is open to the story of Jesus’ birth to lean into surrendering our lives, our work, our hearts, and our homes to care for those who have nothing to give in return. Why? Because of Jesus’ great sacrifice, we who could do nothing to help ourselves received the generous gift of salvation.

Christmas is a perfect time to give sacrificially to care for the least of these as a testament to who our King is. James, the half- brother of Jesus, says this in James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

To the vulnerable, the needy, and the afflicted, we give because we have life everlasting through Christ Jesus. My prayer this Christmas is that instead of giving resources only to our loved ones, we will also offer our time, talent, and even our lives as a parent or family to a child in need of one, either through adoption or foster care. Maybe you are not at a place to welcome a child into your home, but you could give financially to help another family fulfill their calling to adopt or foster.

This is, in fact, religion “pure and undefiled.” This is how we display the gift of Christ — our hope, our mission, and our salvation.

Merry Christmas, and thanks be to God for His inexpressible Gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Herbie Newell is the President of Lifeline Children’s Services, the largest Evangelical Christian adoption agency in the United States. The organization serves vulnerable children and families through private domestic and international adoption, family restoration, and pregnancy counseling. Herbie is also the author of Image Bearers: Shifting from Pro-Birth to Pro-Life.

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