Written by Jim Loscheider (Elder and Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach) on December 8, 2023.
As I’m writing this, it’s Monday, November 27, 2023. We have just finished celebrating Thanksgiving. What a wonderful time to reflect on all that the Lord has provided for us. Personally, I avoided going to stores on Black Friday. No judgment here, just don’t like the crowds and the frenzy. On Saturday, though, I needed to pick up some household items at two of our local big box stores and was amazed at the crowds of people, with loaded carts of “stuff.” I wondered, “what’s needed, and what’s wanted?” That leads me to these thoughts as we enter Advent and move towards Christmas.
What does the Christmas Story teach us about financial wisdom? Christmas is a season that offers us a wonderful time to share, celebrate Christ’s first Advent, and look to His second. There’s also gift-giving to express love and appreciation for others in our family, and to our friends. Last year, I was fascinated by a message taught by Dr. Charles Stanley titled, CHRISTMAS: TEACHING US TO GIVE. I’ve adapted Dr. Stanley’s thoughts into this rare look at the Christmas Story and Jesus’ life.
Jesus’ birth was characterized by giving.
- Mary gave her body and her reputation by willingly surrendering to God in the bearing of His son.
- The Innkeeper gave them a stable. Due to the crowds coming for the census, there was no room for a very pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph to stay. The Innkeeper gave what he had, and it became the humble birthplace of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
- The angels of the Lord gave the announcement. The first report of Christ’s birth was given to simple shepherds.
- The Shepherds gave a testimony. Once they saw the Messiah, they couldn’t contain their joy and spread the “good news” far and wide.
- The Wise Men gave gifts and worshiped. These were substantial gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
- God gave His only begotten Son. The greatest gift of all came from God the Father, who gave His Son to the world to die as a sacrifice for our sins. What a gift!
Looking at Jesus’ life, we can see that, like His Father (John 3:16), He is also a giver. His life is characterized by giving.
- He gave Himself to teaching the truth.
- He gave time to be with the Lord in prayer. Being the Word (John 1), Jesus knows the Word because He is the Word and gives His Word to us.
- He gave Himself to healing the sick. This is amazing to wrap your head around. He gave healing and gave it all the time.
- He gave Himself in training the 12 apostles. He taught them and infused them with the Truth so they could be sent to preach and teach the Gospel once they were given the Holy Spirit as their power source.
- He gave Himself in friendship. I love the story of how he loved Mary and Martha in the healing of their brother Lazarus.
How is your life characterized? Is it modeled after your Savior, who is a giver? What is your attitude toward giving this Christmas? Have you let the world’s materialism and commercialism steal your joy and generosity? Is Christmas all about the stuff you get?
What can you do this Christmas to extend giving beyond our own home? What could you offer to someone in need? What about giving the Gospel message to someone this Christmas?
Key Passage: Luke 2:1-20
Supporting Scriptures: Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 10:47-49, Luke 6:38, Acts 4:32-34, Galatians 4:4-5
Here are some practical ideas on how to keep from overspending this Christmas on needless “stuff” and not break the bank in the materialism of this season. 25 Tips to Save Money This Christmas – Ramsey (ramseysolutions.com)
Adapted from a Sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley titled: Christmas: Teaching us to Give, In Touch Ministries, Intouch.org Christmas: Teaching Us to Give (intouch.org)