Is Christmas a time of giving or receiving? At the centre of Christmas is a person: Jesus Christ. On this special day, we celebrate His birthday. On a special person’s birthday, it’s all about them and not about us. Commonly said, Jesus is the ‘reason for the season’.

There is nothing inherently wrong with gift-giving and it’s one of the exciting aspects of the Christmas season. However, there is no doubt that presents, shopping and material things can make us lose sight of what Christmas is really all about.

When we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, we’re not just celebrating any ordinary birth. Christmas is a time for us to reflect deeply on the poverty that He chose to be born into and the reason why He became God made man. He chose to be born in the humiliating setting of a stable and would later sacrifice His life for us by dying on the cross.

There are so many profound lessons we can learn by contemplating baby Jesus in the crib during the Christmas season. We can especially reflect on Jesus’ birth as an act of generosity that we can imitate in our own ways.

Christmas is a time for unconditional and disinterested generosity for others. There is an incredible and deep joy we experience when we give. However, in order to find joy in giving, our generosity can’t be calculating. The joy in giving is found when it’s done selflessly without expecting anything in return. The joy in giving is the gift that we receive.

Giving during Christmas is more than just buying gifts for loved ones. Giving can be manifested in ‘wasting’ time with loved ones and making more of an effort to be present with them by putting aside our constantly busy schedules all-year-round. Giving is passing on our smile and serving our families at home.

Sometimes, we are stingy with our generosity because others may not appreciate it, but every act of self-giving/charity is something we do to and for God. ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40).

‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ (2 Corinthians 8:9)

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