Published December 24, 2018 by SMBC

By Josie Adney

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, ?It is more blessed to give than to receive.?

Acts 20:35

Christmas is drawing near. While we joyfully anticipate the birth of our Savior, we are also bombarded with a different message, ?You want more. You need more.? For decades, American culture has endorsed a message of consumerism; it is a low yearlong hum, but also a loud cheery jingle blasting from our TVs, radios, and pouring into our mailboxes and inboxes. In an era of effective media influence, it can be difficult to refocus on the upcoming arrival of baby Jesus.

In Acts, Paul recounts our Lord's words, ?It is more blessed to give than to receive.? If we adopt this belief in the beauty of giving and act on it, then I believe we will receive an equally beautiful gift of intimacy with the Lord and others. ?Is not the worship I desire to? share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked, to cover him and not pursue your own business?? (Isaiah 58:7). The Lord yearns for us to care for the needy as our worship, and there is no better time for us to shift our eyes away from storefronts towards the hungry, poor, and lonely than this Advent season.

So, should we feel guilt for enjoying the gifts we receive this holiday? Should we refuse our family, friends, and strangers for bestowing their love to us, in whatever fashion that may be? Not at all! Just as Jesus teaches us to give, He teaches us to receive. He has bestowed us with the most precious gift of forgiveness from sin, intimacy with God, and eternal life with Him. Let us learn to give as our Lord did, and likewise to receive - first from Him, and then from others.

Lord, we ask that You would show us those in need around us. Show us the ways we can give with our resources and time to both stranger and family. Allow us to fully receive Your grace and others? love. Amen.

Josie Adney joined South Main in June, 2018. She teaches Youth Sunday School alongside her husband, Brandyn, who is the Youth Ministry Resident.