What do you enjoy more: giving gifts or receiving them? The most followed tradition of celebrating a birthday is to give a card or gift to the person whose birth you acknowledge.

Do you and your children know why people give presents to others at Christmas, when it is Jesus’ birth we esteem? 

People celebrate Christmas for weeks with
parties, gift exchanges, house
and lawn decorations, and
call it a holiday season. Santa Clauses appear and bell
ringers seek monetary dona-
tions. Do we ever offer Jesus
a gift during the celebration?

Do we appreciate God’s Son--Jesus Christ, who was born to save us--to the point of wanting to reciprocate our love? How have we shown our gratitude to Him?

Many people think they don’t have anything to give to God, but they do. Jesus said that whatever you do for one of the least of people (the poor, hungry, imprisoned), you do for Him (Matthew 25:37-40). The giving of your time, energy, and posses- sions is a gift to the Lord. Aiding people in their physical needs, tithing, contributing to worthy fund raisers, and helping with activities that serve others is giving back to The Lord.

A widow put two copper coins in the temple treasury as her offering. To others, that was worth very little, but to her it was everything she had to live on (Luke 21). Jesus noticed. 

Do you feel your offerings are insignificant or unappreciated? The Lord examines the hearts of those who give, and often blesses the giver besides the gift. Do you believe you lack talent or enough experience to offer anything of value? The Lord’s power is mighty; He equips people willing to serve Him, and His power is most observable through their weaknesses.

If we feel overqualified for a certain task, remember that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. He exemplified the principle that no job is beneath us, for God’s love is observed through our servant attitudes.

Thousands of hungry people followed Jesus up a mountainside, and the disciples didn’t have enough money to purchase food for everyone. Perhaps they were scouting the crowd because Andrew approached Jesus with a child. "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" (John 6:9). It was all that boy had and he was willing to part with it.

Jesus gave thanks for that little amount of food, distributed it, and performed a miracle through the boy’s offering. When everyone had enough to eat, the disciples gathered 12 baskets of leftovers. (Imagine what the boy said to his family and friends when he returned home.)

Whenever a service or donation is selflessly and cheerfully given in Jesus’ name, no matter how small or inadequate you may think it is, it may be used by God in ways one never dreamed possible. Your effort or gift is never too trivial to make a difference. Furthermore, God loves a cheerful giver (2Corinthians 9:7).

If we are truly grateful for our Lord Jesus Christ’s amazing love and His Spirit’s continual presence in our lives, then we should have a desire to express that appreciation and thankfulness in a distinct way. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (John 14:23), and He instructed us to love others through our words and actions.

The Lord knows every person’s heart and rewards those who serve Him wholeheartedly. Don’t underestimate His love and power. He works in ways you cannot fathom and does immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). So what gift will you give to Jesus this year?

Cindy Rooy is the author of a Bible study, "Trusting God Through Troubles & Tears." She is the contributing author in several devotional books and websites, and enjoys a speaking ministry. To contact Cindy, email her at cr4Him@gmail.com. For past columns, visit www.therogersvillereview.com