Christmas can be the most exciting and joyful time of the year, but it can also be very challenging. Ever since my husband lost his job, we’ve been struggling with money. My job doesn’t pay well and we can barely make it through each month, let alone buy extra things, especially Christmas presents. I love giving gifts to people. I love making them happy. The idea of not being able to do that makes me really sad.
Recently, I had a good friend offer to pay for some unexpected expenses. I was so touched by his offer that it made me cry. I didn’t know how to respond and I felt it was wrong to take the money. And then he said something that I thought was so very profound and helped me see things differently. He said that there are people in our lives that can and want to help out and if we reject their help we are not allowing God to use their desire to help.
Here I was thinking I shouldn’t accept his help, even though I knew that if I was on the other side, I would have wanted to help as well. I learned such a valuable lesson. It’s okay to let people help you. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God gave us the greatest gift – His son Jesus. He did that for us, because He loves us. If we don’t accept His gift, we are rejecting His love. If we don’t accept help from people who love us, we are not only rejecting them, but we are also rejecting God.
My friend’s generosity really inspired me. It makes me think of this verse: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). My friend really wanted to help. He was the cheerful giver. What a blessing! I was overwhelmed by his kindness and I realised that all the focus on money issues made me forget that I still have so much to give. A smile. A hug. Time to listen. Patience. Compassion. Forgiveness. And most of all – love. I can still make people happy.
It can be hard to give these things to people (and be a cheerful giver) when we are going through tough times. That is why I feel it’s so important not only to give, but also be willing to receive. We can’t do it all on our own. And that’s okay. We’re not supposed to. God is there to help us and His help comes in many different forms, including through other people.
I hope this Christmas can be time of giving and receiving. I hope we can all remember the gift that God gave us and feel so blessed and become cheerful givers. I hope we can spread around joy and especially love. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)