Advent Devotional December 2: Written by David & Charis Smith in 1987

John 3:16
Christmas is giving. Sometimes the joy is in giving a gift that is anticipated. As the space under the tree becomes filled, David starts checking packages for one that is the right size and shape. "Is it a nutcracker?" he will ask. We all look very mysterious and say, "Could be." On Christmas morning, his pleasure and ours are complete. We have both given and received that which was wanted.

God is a giver. He planned through the ages to give mankind what it needed most, a Saviour. The prophets kept alive the hope of this special gift. Even though this gift was expected, the arrival of the Christ Child was still wonderful. From that time on, the standard for giving is summed up in the familiar text from John: "God so loved
the world, he GAVE..."

Peter Rhea Jones led a deacons' retreat for South Main in the early 1970s with an unforgettable cornerstone sermonette: "The Extravagant Goodness of God." When we have experienced God's grace, our own selfish nature softens and we begin to be givers. At Christmas, surrounded by the awareness of God's consummate gift of Christ, we learn to be generous, even a bit extravagant at times. At first, we give only what can be wrapped in a package. Through God's caring and loving example of seeing deeper needs, we grow to be able to give ourselves - to God first, and then to others.

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