Let's have Christmas generosity year-round
Last month we had our Christmas program at church. As part of it some animal character0s are discussing what they have given the baby Jesus as a gift. It is not a new theme. There have been songs and plays before on the same theme.
First and foremost, Christmas is about what God has given us in Christ Jesus. But plays and songs on this theme invite us to consider what we might give in response for what God gave us at Christmas.
I started thinking that we could write a similar play for every season of the church year. Epiphany is easy. Despite the old joke that if it had been Wise Women instead of Wise Men, the Magi would have brought practical gifts, Epiphany invites us into extravagance. God gives us extravagantly when God created the stars of night and the light of day. We give back extravagantly just like the Wise Men did.
And Lent is a time of giving. Often it is a time of giving up as a way of noticing what we have and that God meets our needs. Often it is also a time when people traditionally increased their thank offerings with coin cards. Inflation may have made them obsolete, but a time of increased giving to mark a penitential season is not a bad idea. Not because we can pay for our sins, but exactly because we can't, and the little bit we can give only serves to underscore that fact and lead us through lent to the cross.
The Three Days of Easter are hard to separate. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter together remind us of just how much we have been given and invite us more deeply into a life of giving, a life of thanksgiving.
Pentecost brings us a new gift of the Holy Spirit. There should be plays about that, and what would be a proper gift in response to God's promise to be with us always and to empower us. And the Season of Pentecost and the growth of the church reminds us that it is God's gifts that grow a church, and that with God's power our gifts to the church can support the ministry His name.
The Pentecost season ends with Christ the King Sunday, which reminds us that our gifts to God are and should be gifts fit for the King.
Throughout the year and throughout the ages God has not stopped giving generously to us. When we are immersed in that knowledge day after day we learn how to give because it becomes a part of the air that we breathe.
The season of Christmas has gone by, but I pray that the joy of giving we experience at Christmas will stay for all the seasons.
Copyright © 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at
The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran
Church, Warwick, RI. A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry
after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care. She
graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served
4 ½ years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander. She is
still trying to understand the accent. While in the Upstate New York Synod
she chaired the Stewardship Team. That began her fascination with what
makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing
daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from