Giving begins and ends with God. Whatever any of us might have to give is itself a gift from God: where we live and the time of our lives; who we love and what we do; what we have and how we are fed. Every gift of life is a gift from God, a sign of God’s gracious love.
God’s gracious love is a profound, life-changing gift. God gives love that promises new life in Christ, Christ who entirely gave himself away entirely for the sake of others. No giver surpasses God’s generous giving to us.
This new life provides perfect freedom to love as God loves, to give as God gives, to be an extension of God’s own benevolent heart.
Like anyone who acknowledges a gift, acknowledging — giving thanks for — God’s many gifts is a joyful endeavor. There is no greater way to respond to God in joy than to give freely, to give back to God what God has first given: our selves, our time and our possessions. The only way to give back to God is to care for God’s gifts, cultivate and tend them. And, paradoxically, to give them away.
Giving gifts away is really a way of giving back to God. Feeding the hungry is giving in joy. Offering time to others is giving in joy. Sharing talents and passions is giving in joy. Being with someone in times of need is giving in joy. Offering a gift of money is giving in joy. Volunteering is giving in joy.
Of all the things to be said about the new life God gives, this is most certainly true: there are plenty of gifts to give, and plenty of joy, too.
The joys of giving and receiving draw giver and receiver closer and closer and closer together. In drawing closer together, receivers-turned-givers bless others as God blesses. In this way, giving is a life-affirming cycle.