I would like for you all to think back to your fondest childhood Christmas morning memory. Mine was the Christmas I received a Super Nintendo gaming system! It was a traditional “White Christmas” morning in Michigan. In addition to my gaming system, my brother, sister and I received new sleds. Throughout the day, we alternated sled riding down the snowy hill onto the frozen lake and playing Super Mario while drinking hot chocolate! What a joyous Christmas day!
As a young child, I was focused on what I was receiving. As I have grown older, I have learned the true joy is in giving. “Giving” is not only the money to pay for the tangible (though that is important), but also the giving of gifts our Lord has blessed us with to use for His glory. It was within a couple Sundays of visiting this parish before Shannon Hannaman asked me to assist her with our EYC program. I was not sure why God was calling me to this church, but I quickly learned. God presented me with this opportunity to use my gifts to work with the young people of our church. While I hopefully have impacted the lives of our children, I know they have impacted my life. They constantly remind me what it means to be unselfish when it comes to my time. For them, I give my time a few hours each Sunday to assist with their growth in their Christian walk. Otherwise, I might be taking a Sunday afternoon nap, watching another football game, or doing household chores that were put off all week. Sometimes, I really do want to do those things (except the chores). However, in return for my time, I have learned, been blessed, and created so many wonderful relationships that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Another way I experience joy in giving, is watching our church grow. The buildings are pretty much the same since I have been here, but our programs and opportunities for fellowship have grown substantially in recent years. I have been involved in recently started programs such as the Crossroads and Young Adults Ministries. Certain programs I have taken part in for years, like our Lenten Studies and Sunday School offerings. These programs have expanded and become even more spiritually impactful. I know that the money given each month goes a long way in aiding these areas of ministry. The Lord is supplying St. Luke’s with an abundance of His blessings. We are giving joyfully, but in return, we are also receiving.
Many years ago, I remember sharing with my parents which Christmas morning stood out as my favorite. When I recalled the “Super Nintendo Christmas” they laughed and told me how, when we were asleep, they took the sleds out for their own rides! We all had fun with the gifts! While I was too young to understand what giving actually meant, I know the joy my siblings and I shared brought joy to my parents who were the reason that day was so special.
I prayerfully ask you to give to St. Luke’s of your time, your money, and your unique gifts. My hope is that you can share in the abundant joy of glorifying our God that giving brings. May God bless you and your family.