Year-end Giving? Year-long Giving!

With one flip of the calendar page from November to December, you will officially brace yourself for all that’s coming and prepare to fully thrust yourself into the shopping, snow, more shopping, decorating, working, more snow, office parties, sleet, school parties, ice, baking, ham, and yes, more working and shopping, gift wrapping, card writing, and bow tie-ing— with every ounce of energy you can muster—because THIS is the season of GIVING!

THIS is the season, our culture tells us, of good will, glad tidings, comfort and joy—and by golly, we will do it!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing—I’m not Scrooge. I enjoy lots of the cultural parts of Christmas that aren’t really even Christmas at all. But every year I wonder why we try to squeeze a year’s worth of giving and love into just one month!

That’s a lot of pressure.

Then there’s the financial giving.

Every December our mailboxes are full of letters asking us to consider helping different organizations with a year-end financial gift. In our culture, because of tax laws, year-end giving is a big deal. If any of us are able to give now, we’ll get a break come tax time next April!

Now, again, don’t get me wrong, this kind of giving is also a good thing, but do you ever think about why we allow our tax system and calendar to determine so much about when we give?

What if each one of us considered becoming all-year givers? People who see needs of all kinds, all year ‘round, and continually challenge ourselves to respond, give, and share?

And not just when it comes to our money.

Gift-giving in general can be re-thought—both this December and all year long—to include ideas that have nothing to do with money at all. (That’s why I love Q Place’s 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations!) 

Here are just a few:

  • Make up with someone you are mad at.
  • Hug someone and tell them how much you love them.
  • Forgive an enemy.
  • Listen.
  • Find time to keep a promise.
  • Tell someone how much you appreciate them.
  • Put down your smart phone and talk to your family.
  • Take someone out for dessert.
  • Visit someone who is lonely.
  • Offer to babysit for a very tired single mom.
  • Tell someone you’re sorry.
  • Pray with someone who needs to be lifted to the Lord.

This Christmas season, will you consider beginning to be a year-long giver?

By all means begin now this Christmas season, during a time when the spiritually seeking may be more open to spiritual things, but experience your own “peace on earth” knowing you won’t have to get all your good will done this month! “God rest ye merry,” gentlemen and women! You can continue your tidings of comfort and joy all next year!

Jeff Klein
National Church Partnership Director