As the Advent season draws to a close and the Christmas season begins to dawn upon us, I want to reflect briefly on how the Christmas story can shed light on our efforts to accept stewardship as a way of life.
God could have chosen a number of different ways to enter into our lives, but the way God did it revealed incredible generosity. The magi followed the star, bringing some of their treasures with them to give to the newborn King. These magi didn’t know much about Judaism or the Jewish Messiah. They didn’t even know where to find Him, so they had to ask for directions. They only had limited knowledge, but they knew the basics: you give a King the best of what you have.
The shepherds didn’t give their money to the King, but they gave their time. They knew exactly what was happening as their angelic visitors revealed it to them. They stopped what they were doing and responded by going to see. They put aside their time for the King.
Joseph was betrothed to Mary. We don’t know much about Joseph, but we marvel at how he accepted a pregnant fiancée! Joseph was ready to divorce Mary quietly, but the angelic dream convinced him otherwise. He gave up his reputation for this King. For the rest of Joseph’s life, many would misunderstand him. He looked like a fool. He willingly followed the ways of God regardless what the neighbors might think. God is worth more than our reputation.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He shows us what it looks like to give one’s whole life to God. Mark 10:45 says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus came to offer Himself completely on our behalf. Jesus entered human history for one purpose: to give His very life.
Finally, God the Father shows us the highest form of generosity in the Christmas story. The most difficult thing to give away is whatever is most precious to you. This might be a possession, a dream, a mate, or a child. That’s the sacrifice God made. Jesus gave His life, but God gave His own precious Son.
Do you notice a progression in this story? Some gave their possessions or their time. Others were asked to give much more. All, other than God Himself, gave as a response to God’s love, purposes and calling. During these coming weeks we hope to become a small mirror of the generosity of God. If you decide to offer more of your life back to God, it can radically change not only your life, but also can change the world.