It’s that time of the year again. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have already passed and now we will be bombarded with advertisements pushing anything and everything – from Mercedes Benz cars to the latest in smart phones to fidget spinners (everybody has one – or say they say). We are all looking for the best deals for everyone on your gift list. With all of this is the pressure. The pressure to find the time to get everything done, the pressure to make sure no one gets left out or offended, and of course, the pressure to make sure there is money left to pay the rent.

Giving is not supposed to be the source of so many headaches. In fact, it is supposed to be a way of blessing others. Deep down we all know that the real problem is that much of our giving is motivated by something other than love and affection. We often feel compelled to give and if we don’t, we feel guilty, or stingy.

The Bible shows clearly that giving is at the heart of our Christian faith, as John 3:16 shows: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.” This Gift from God is the reason the whole gift-giving thing started in the first place. Jesus is the One that God gave so that we can have eternal life.

A brief review of the history of the Church reveals that from the very beginning sacrificial giving has been a part of the fabric of Christianity. In Acts chapter two we are told none of the believers “claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” This was not about getting a tax write-off or feeling extra charitable because of a holiday. This was a life-style they chose because of their love for Jesus and their genuine concern for those in need. The same passage tells us that believers that owned land or houses would sometimes sell them, bring the proceeds to the church leaders who would distribute it to anyone who had need.

Perhaps its time for a family discussion about how we can minimize the exchanging of gifts and instead pool our resources to help those who are truly in need. And don’t forget to add lots of love to every gift you give this Christmas.