Originally published Dec. 1, 2016
Every Christmas, Christians are reminded of this timeless principle of giving as found in the book of Acts. Oftentimes this principle will come to mind while we shop for Christmas presents for our loved ones, or when we drop some change in the red Salvation Army bucket in front of the grocery store. While these things are important, we are also reminded of the most wonderful gift given during the Christmas season: Jesus Christ.
In Philippians 2, we find one of the most beautiful passages in Scripture when it comes to the act of giving. This passage reminds us that Jesus gave up his divine privilege to be born as a man on earth for the purpose of living a sinless life and the giving of himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sin (Philippians 2:7-8). It is this ultimate act of sacrificial giving that sets the precedent for our own personal role of Christian giving. While we will never match Christ’s gift to us, we do give to others in various small ways so as to reflect Christ in our daily lives.
For our military brothers and sisters, one of the ways they reflect Christ in their giving is through the giving of their time. Each and every Christmas, there are thousands of deployed military service members spread all over the globe sacrificially giving their time to defend and protect the freedom that American citizens have to celebrate Christmas with their family and loved ones. These service members are giving of their own time that they could be spending with their own family and friends at Christmas so that you and I can have the freedom to celebrate Christmas with our own family and loved ones. In a small way, their act of giving mirrors the act of sacrificial giving as modeled to us by Jesus.
A couple of weeks ago, students at Liberty University took the time to pack and send care packages to some of these military service members serving overseas. Just like the military service members, these students sacrificially gave of their time in order to communicate their thankfulness to military service members for the giving of their time. As a former service member who has been deployed during the Christmas holiday, I can assure you that this small act of giving goes a long way. Service members deployed overseas during Christmas can be prone to feelings of depression and even despair. I can remember having these feelings myself, wondering if the gift of my time spent overseas was worth the heartache of missing Christmas with family and friends.
To be sure, a care package mailed to a service member is a rather small act of giving. It does not require a huge sacrifice of time nor is it very expensive. Yet the message that it sends to the deployed service member is a huge gift. The contents of the box may only contain hygiene items and snacks, but the greater message communicated is that someone cares and that the service member is not forgotten. This gift provides the service member hope, joy, and love – all feelings one would anticipate and expect during the Christmas holiday season.
So during this Christmas season, let us remember that it is indeed more blessed to give than to receive and that no act of giving is too small to communicate and reflect the ultimate gift of love given by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jeff Hazard served in the United States Army Reserve for a little over 12 years with three overseas deployments. He currently serves as a representative of the Office of Military Affairs at Liberty University where he enjoys being able to help military students reach their academic goals. He is currently working toward a Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies at the Rawlings School of Divinity.