Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Holidays...Really? {Do We Live Generously}
(This is Part 2 of a Christmas Season series that I'm writing about different things that make the hoidays less "happy" for some people(based on our sermon series at my home church). You can read Part 1  HERE.)

What does Christmas mean to you? Making out our wish lists? Wrapped presents under the tree? Giving and receiving gifts? Cleaning out our savings accounts and maxing out our credit cards?
Sadly, for many people, Christmas is about getting MORE things. It's about who gets the best present and who gets the most. It means more toys for the kids and finding out who can give/get bigger, better presents.

I love the Christian based cartoon "VeggieTales". It was one of my son's favorite cartoons to watch as a young boy. (And I'll admit, I loved watching them with him!) A few years back there was a Christmas video that VeggieTales made about living generously.
Here is the trailer:

The U.S. is known to be a wealthy country, in comparison to most other countries in the world. Here is a listing of the top countries of the world. 
Figure 2: Regional Wealth Shares
 When we look at this pie chart, it lets us know that we are very blessed to be born in America. (I realize some have been more financially blessed than others. But we are all blessed to be in this country) 

This, in one sense, is truly a gift from God.
"Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God."(Ecclesiastes 5:19)

God has specifically given instructions for us (Americans and those in European countries especially) to be generous.
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."       
 (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
He also reminds us that:
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.(Luke 12:48)

As wealthy, (yes we truly are wealthy, compared to most of the world)Americans, do we live generously? During the holidays, especially, America's wealth is painfully evident! Spending money on ourselves and even having to get more, bigger, better things. Now, I'm not saying it's wrong to give gifts to loved ones. But it's more important to know where our hearts are, instead of how and what we spend our money on. Our attitude should be that of a cheerful giver...
 "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 
2 Corinthians 9:7
as well as having a grateful heart and expecting nothing in return. 
 "I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind."
We also need to be aware of the needs of others less fortunate than us.  
 “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” – James 2:15-16, ESV
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you – when you already have it with you.” – Proverbs 3:27-28, NIV
Let's think of how we can give/live generously this holiday season(and always), whether it would be financially, with our time, or through our talents.

Here is a funny video made by "The Skit Guys". I love these creative actors, as they teach a lesson on having a generous spirit at's not always about "things".
Continuing to give thanks, listing the many gifts from the Lord all week long...   Linking over at  "Multitude on Mondays".  
1,551 - An especially fun Thanksgiving meal at my mom's house.
1,552 - Getting to watch an old movie that had my grandfather acting in it. (Briefly)
1,553 - Peanut butter pie and Creamed Corn Casserole!
1,554 - Family pictures

1,555 - Having fun together at Panda Express!

1,556 - Deep spiritual conversations with my son.
1,557 - His willingness to dig deeper to learn about God and truth.
1,558 - Safe travels
1,559 - Homemade lasagna
1,560 - Being able to work outside - raking leaves, storing outdoor items for winter.


  1. A good reminder to open our hands & bless others this Christmas. Thank you for sharing. I visited from Tell Me a Story.

    1. Isn't it, though, jviola79? Thanks for stopping by!

  2. me sappy, but that video actually made me emotional! lol The best gift given is a gift from the heart, and that's exactly what God did on the first Christmas, isn't it? Thanks for sharing :-)

    Blessings, Joan

    P.S. I am reminded of the quote from a Christmas convert: "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas is a little bit more." The Grinch :-)

    1. Yeah, I'm kind of a sap myself, Joan! A homemade gift from my son or hubby will bring tears to my eyes every time! I agree...the quote from the Grinch definitely applies here, as well! May blessings to you, my friend!

  3. Beautiful post.. i love veggie tales. Glad to connect

  4. Thanks Ann. I like how our posts were similar this week. My best friend and I sponsor a child through Compassion. Last year instead of giving each other gifts we decided to send the money we would've spent to the little girl's family. It was one of the biggest blessings I've ever experienced. We later found out they constructed a bathroom in their house with concrete and lime. It really made me realize just how blessed we are here...that what little money we sent was used the way it was. We are planning to do the same thing this year. I can't wait to see what God does with the money.

    1. What a blessed way (for everyone) to celebrate the birth of our Savior! And then to find out exactly what they used the financial gift for, that was the star on the tree!!!! When we share from the heart, we are blessed, in return!

  5. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story." We are truely blessed to be here in America. May we give graciously and generously to others who are less fortunate.


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