Why do we give?

A few nights ago I opened a book to read to Henry, and the first page stung like a bee.


Do I really present loved ones with gifts because it's Jesus' birthday?

I polled my Sunday School class this week: "Why do we spend money at Christmas?"

People expect it.
You think people expect it.
It makes me feel good to give.
To show love.
To show people they're worth something to us.
The culture fosters it - ads, sales, specials.
I saved up all year for something and used Christmas as an excuse to get it.
Kids are begging us for something.

Biblical giving is a tough thing to do today. You don't need me to tell you Americans are consumed by materialism and addicted to excess, so rather than write a dissertation on the subject (you know I'm tempted!), I just want to offer this simple message, which I'm lifting from Advent Conspiracy:

Worship fully.
Spend less.
Give more.
Love all.

One way to give more is with your time. Obviously. Give your children experiences more than tangible items. Museum passes, special lessons, camps, small vacations, day trips, picnics, skating, train rides, scavenger hunts. This works great with adults too. Treat your friend or your parent to an afternoon coffee and conversation. Plan a night away with your spouse. Sometimes experiences cost money, but they don't have to. And even if you do spend money, aren't the fun of the moment and the memory for later worth more than the  insert object here  ?

But you can also spend less in order to give more to those who are truly in need. And there's where Compassion comes in. If you haven't chosen a charity or two for your Christmas giving (and even if you have!), I encourage you to peruse Compassion's Christmas Gift Catalog. It has so many options, you're sure to find something that suits your heart's nudging. Livestock. Water. Emergency medical care. Disaster relief. The choice is yours.

"We give presents because it is Jesus' birthday."


  1. What a good post! We need to put the importance back in CHRISTmas and it's not about how much we can buy each other! I love you!

    1. Keith and I have been thinking a lot about this and how we're tired of making lists just for the sake of making them. We know all our family wants to bless us, but is trying to coming up with items to tell them really the right way to do that? I don't know the answer, but we're trying to figure it out.

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