Money (and giving) matters this Christmas.

First, let me begin by wishing everyone a blessed first day of Advent.

Second, I’m one of those characters that enjoys sorting and managing money. I put some in savings,  pay the bills, and the rest sits in the bank account. Around Christmas, money is often a big issue for many individuals and families. How much should we spend? Where should we shop? Who gets what? All of these things cause tension, stress, and maybe even distancing between family members. However, this Christmas (and especially if you’re a Christian), remember that the money you’re spending doesn’t belong to you anyway. It belongs to God.

I will be honest. I have a hard time giving my share of money back to the Lord. I rarely carry cash, I’m not writing a check at a church where I’m not sure it will be cashed, and sometimes I just forget. My primary excuse is that I’m a college student, so I don’t make that much money to begin with, so God can possibly understand. However, during Christmas, I have no problem buying my family very nice gifts. This Christmas, I am going to make a conscious effort to give back in the name of Jesus (and continue throughout the year).

But how can I do this during the Christmas season?

1. Buy cans of food for a food drive.

2. Think about buying fair trade products. My college is hosting a fair trade gift shop this week, which features gifts that have been ethically made.

3. Sneak a few dollars into the Salvation Army pot.

4. If you go out to eat closer to Christmas, leave your server a little extra tip.

Of course, you can also give without handing over money:

1. Volunteer to help an elderly neighbor.

2. Take a meal to a sick friend.

3. Invite someone over for Christmas dinner who doesn’t have family close by.

No, while not the exhaustive list of how to do good with your Christ-given financial resources, it’s a start. Am I perfect practitioner of the list? No. But I am trying each day to be better. Remember, any bit, monetary or not, counts. Especially if it’s given in the name of Jesus.

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