This morning as I was reading my bible I came across a passage that invoked the Christmas spirit in me. I was reading in the book of Hebrews and one verse jumped off the page at me. Some of you may now think I have officially lost it because you're trying to figure out how the book of Hebrews reminded me of Christmas, but let me show you.
For me, the spirit of Christmas is in the power of the exchange. There is something magical that happens when someone gives a gift and when someone receives a gift. This is often best witnessed when you watch a child receiving a gift with wide-eyed wonderment. The physical passing of the gift from your hand to theirs is captured in the joy and excitement on their face and in their body language. Their eyes are ablaze with anxiousness of what is inside the gift and just the very fact that there is a gift with their name on it brings smiles to their faces. But have you ever stopped and wondered about the expression on the face of the one giving the gift? Often times we focus on the child or person receiving the gift, but the delight that is on the person giving the gift is also something truly magical to behold. The ability to bring that joy to that child or the receiver of the gift ultimately comes from the person giving the gift.
This brings me back to the verse that sparked my ramblings today. The author in chapter 7 of Hebrews is making reference to Melchizedek's and Abraham's interaction with each other after Abraham had returned from battle with his spoils. Melchizedek blesses Abraham and Abraham gives a tenth of all he had captured in battle to Melchizedek. But what caught my attention the most was this verse: "And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed"(Hebrews 7:7). The more significant person in the exchange is the person who can bless. Being a giver is a good thing. It gives God the opportunity to fill you up with more so that you have more to give away. Luke explains it this way:
"Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full - pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you give back"(Luke 6:38).If you want to see God move in your life, start using the blessing He has already given you in other's lives. I love the phrase my dad continues to use to this day, "you cannot out give God". God has gifted us to give. He has given to us, not so that we hoard for ourselves, but that we give it away.
Let's go back to Christmas (YEAH!) for a minute. We can give gifts to those that we love, care and appreciate this year, but are we making an effort to be a blessing to people? Are we acting out our faith out of a desire to fulfill an obligation or are we blessing those people with the intention of bringing glory to God? Instead of just giving a toy to a child, take time out of your busy schedule to invest in that child's life. Instead of giving an expensive gift to someone, make an effort to invest in their needs. If they are struggling with some physical ailment, offer to help out around their house. Shovel their driveway (yeah snow) or offer to run some errands for them. If they are suffering financially, bless them with a gift card for groceries and daily needs. If they are struggling emotionally from a loss of a loved one, spend time with them and encourage them. But however you bless someone in the coming months, take time to reflect after the fact about how it feels to be a blessing to someone and then go and do it again.
Luke 20:35 wraps it up best (pun implied) "It is more blessed to give than to receive". Let's be in the habit of giving to others. Let's be in the routine of seeing a need and filling a need. God will never leave you with less than enough.
One last thought: This season, the best gift that could be given to someone is the gift of eternal life. You just don't know how God might use your act of intentionally blessing to help lead someone into a relationship with Jesus Christ. There truly is no greater joy than that.