So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
— Philippians 2:1–8
It’s easy to become cynical about gift giving this time of year. I hear people complain all the time about, how expensive and materialistic it is. They talk about how we need to get back to the roots of Christmas and spend the night in barns or something like that.
I’ll admit, there is probably some truth to that. We do talk about gifts this time of year more than we talk about Jesus. That may be problematic, but on the flip side, we are also more generous.
The most amazing part of the Christmas season is generosity. Maybe I look at the world through rose-colored glasses this time of year, but I believe that people are more giving at Christmas than at any other time. And it’s not just Christians. I think everyone is more mindful of sharing from the abundance they have, which is remarkable to think about. Even nonbeleivers give more this time of year.
We spend hours thinking about things we can do for the people we love. We spend days trying to make them happy or bring them some kind of joy. I love that. Not only are we more generous, but the entire season gets us thinking about ways we can use our resources to bring joy to others.
I think it is a great way to honor the birth of our savior. His life was that. He spent every moment working towards a sacrificial gift that would benefit those he loved the most: us. He gave us everything he had.
When you think about it, the very thing we celebrate, the birth of Christ, was also the first Christmas gift. God Gave us his son.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
— John 3:16
This is not a justification for materialism. (I see you, cynics.) It’s a reason to give generously, to love generously, and to live generously. I hope that, this year and in the next, you will live more generous lives and that you will be like Paul describes to Timothy: “rich in good deeds” (1 Timothy 6:17–19). I cannot think of a better way for God’s people to celebrate.