For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Generosity of Saint Nick

Matthew 6:3-4
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I still enjoy the mystery of Santa Claus. No, I don’t expect a jolly man dressed in a red suit with fluffy white fur to climb down the chimney. But I do appreciate the story surrounding the real Saint Nick. Legend says that a man named Nicholas was born around A.D. 280 in the small town of Patara (Turkey). As a believer in the Bible, Nicholas showed great compassion for others. When he left gifts, he gave them in secret. Eventually someone figured out that he sneaked into homes and left presents, but history says that he remained humble until his death. Eventually, Saint Nicholas became an icon of generosity.

Jesus encouraged believers to give to the poor, take care of widows and orphans and be generous. He wants me to do this without boasting or calling attention to myself. Even as I buy or make gifts for my loved ones, I want to keep a humble attitude and honor the recipients. “It is better to give than to receive” is so true.  A large part of the joy I experience at Christmas time comes from giving. With this attitude I don’t worry anymore about getting just the right gift. Instead I focus on the pleasure of giving.  

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