Once upon a time- of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve......
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite stories. The intend behind the book is what I love best about it. Dickens looked at his world and saw poverty, ignorance, inhumanity and callousness toward fellow man. He wanted to do something about it, but wasn't sure what he could do. On a walk one day, he was haunted by ideas of a miserly old man and his dynamic change of character. Wanting also to revive the true spirit of Christmas, Dickens sat down and brought to life some of our favorite characters- Tiny Tim, Mr. Fezzywig, The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-To-Come and the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge. This short story was an instrument in renewing Christmas cheer and goodwill.
While babysitting some of my favorite little men, I was reading an article in one of my friend Lori's magazines. I was infuriated and discouraged by what I read. This article stated that Christians give less than non-beleivers. Immediately I thought of all of the pennies gone to waste by these horrible misrepresentitives of Christ. How could we be so stingy and selfish. I brooded over this for a long time and didn't realize some important things, until a later conversation with my mother.
If we, as Christians, are to give in secret and without expecting anything back, not "tooting our own horns," so to speak, then why would they be able to document how much we give? So, these ratios and percentages aren't actually acurate! Phew! Then I thought, how much to I actually give of my time and rescources in secret? Hmmm.. food for thought.
The other point my mom brought to my attention is that non-Christians and cults are trying to earn their way to Heaven and most of them are doing good deeds to gain favor and approval with men. It is their "salvation" in their own minds- albeit a very false and decieving salvation. They probably will always outgive us for the two reasons above stated. This was a bit of a comfort to me.
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be challenged by this article. That we should ignore it and just keep on going with mediocre generosity. We should really contemplate why we give and how much we give. How much do I spend on my own pleasures rather than using my means to contribute to the welfare of others much less fortunate than ourselves?
This Christmas, let's put Scrooge somewhere where we will be reminded to give and give in secret and for God's glory and God's favor! Keep giving and don't let anyone know about it, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ!!
"...and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May this be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!"