Get and Give
The paradox of the Christmas season is striking: people are giving lots of “stuff” and people are getting lots of “stuff.” We are all well aware the true message is what God gave us and how He delivered us through sending His own Son. We celebrate this gift but the truth of the matter is: He gives and we get. From this He calls us to give and then other people get.
We try so hard to get over the “getting” but let’s be realistic: giving and getting are meant to be held in tension. Celebrate how you give and celebrate what you receive. It’s okay – really!
Let your youth ministry embrace this wonderful tension in the Christmas season with these three strategies:
- Get – Be sure to have fun with gifts over this season, but keep it simple. Schedule a gift exchange of the “white elephant” variety. I define “white elephant” as something you bring from home and no longer want. Have participants wrap it in newspaper. We have done this for years and seen everything from the ordinary to the bizarre to the silly.
- Get/Give – Another rewarding part of the Christmas message is how we get and give. From childhood most of your youth have experienced the joy of receiving from loving family members. They know what it is to receive a genuine gift from one who knows and loves them. Offer your youth the opportunity to give as they have received. One way our youth ministry has done this is to plan an annual Christmas shopping trip. We load up the vans and head down the road to a local shopping mall. The clearly stated purpose of this trip is encouraging youth to buy presents for their families, other relatives and close friends. They bring their own money and we set them free for a couple of hours. Back at the vans it is fun for our leaders to hear them share what they purchased. One year I had a student text me and ask me to try a coat on as her dad was the same size as me!
- Give – Though you knew this one would land on the list you can see how the first two set up the joy of giving. When we remember the happiness of receiving our giving becomes even more meaningful. Throughout the Christmas season our youth participate in a variety of giving opportunities in the lives of the community through loving service with low income families and those without homes. It is a joy to serve and give together. You undoubtedly have places where your youth can bring their getting and giving together to love others with the love of Christ and bring His presence to the neighborhood.