Devotional: “The Joy of Getting”

Does anyone else feel it? It’s not the magic of Christmas, it’s the pressure. And for some reason it’s so bad this year that even writing this devotional is a challenge. I’m racking my brain (and maybe even the internet) for a warm Christmas story, or a new angle on the original Christmas story, or…something. Because whatever it is, it has to be really good and really Christmas-y.

Why? Where does this pressure come from? Can I really blame all the commercials and Lifetime holiday movies for setting me up for this? No, I can’t. It’s me.

A big part of Christmas is giving. And I’m not feeling very good at that right now. I am analyzing my Christmas card list (which isn’t very long) and wishing there was an easier way to bake cookies than in my toaster oven for my co-worker, and about the quality of my Secret Santa gift, and if the gifts I’ve chosen for my family are too returnable…

Why am I missing the “joy of giving?” I think, maybe, it’s because the story of Christmas might actually be about getting. I know, I know. Apologies to all of our parents and teachers who told us the opposite when we were kids. But hang with me. God gave His best gift to us—Jesus. Have we taken the time to receive that gift, or are we too busy trying to earn favor with our gift-giving? Do we allow God’s grace to soak in through all the gifts He gives through Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Those breakthrough moments in Scripture, encouraging words of a friend, wise counsel of a parent, thank-you notes from students, and yes, even those extra meaningful Christmas gifts. Or are we left hoping that our gifts to Him and the rest of the world are good enough?

I don’t know if anyone else struggles with this, but it’s a lesson I’m learning this Christmas. Let God give. Let Him fill me up. And whatever overflows from my life into the lives of others will be more than enough.

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Once a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele, and was sent to our volunteers on December 19, 2017.

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