This Christmas slogan is overused by organizations around the world in order to increase their end of year donations: “a season for giving.” That’s quite often the summation of Christmas—simply a season of giving. With this in mind, you can likely think of similar slogans such as “it is better to give than receive.” That one is actually from the Bible (Acts 20:35).
This is universally accepted, at all times of the year, but especially so around Christmas. My church has emphasized Advent Conspiracy for several years, and two of their areas of focus are to “spend less” in order to be able to “give more.”
But what if Christmas isn’t actually about giving? I would argue, that, in fact, Christmas is about receiving.
The opportunity to give is a privilege, because you can only give if you have first received. What do you have that was not given to you (1 Cor. 4:7)?
In our culture today I think we much prefer to give instead of receiving. Receiving is humbling. It means you aren’t in control. It means you can’t be self-sufficient.
Christmas is first and foremost about receiving, not giving, though our self-sufficient and capable selves prefer to flip this around. Christmas is a story of grace—God’s presence given in the most unlikely way. It also, therefore, a story of receiving. John Wesley said, “Nothing is more repugnant to capable, reasonable people than grace.”
Please, give all you have this Christmas. But make sure you are a receiver of grace first.
From Tyler: I hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebration with friends and family. God’s blessing to you and yours as 2015 comes to a close.