One Long Extended Gift

Luke 21:1–4; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Matthew 2:11

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” (Luke 21:1–4)

It’s not too late to give some things away this Christmas. Not just on Christmas Day, but during the days after December 25. We could call these daily gifts “our Christmas projects.” Maybe one per day from now ’til the end of the year. Here are thirty-two suggestions. Take your choice.

• Mend a quarrel.

• Seek out a forgotten friend.

• Dismiss suspicion.

• Write a long-overdue love note.

• Hug someone tightly and whisper, “I love you so.”

• Forgive an enemy.

• Be gentle and patient with an angry person.

• Express appreciation.

• Gladden the heart of a child.

• Find the time to keep a promise.

• Make or bake something for someone else. Anonymously.

• Release a grudge.

• Listen.

• Speak kindly to a stranger.

• Enter into another’s sorrow.

• Smile. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more.

• Take a walk with a friend.

• Kneel down and pat a dog.

• Read a poem or two to your mate or friend.

• Lessen your demands on others.

• Play some beautiful music during supper.

• Apologize if you were wrong.

• Talk together with the television off.

• Treat someone to an ice-cream cone.

• Do the dishes for the family.

• Pray for someone who helped you when you hurt.

• Fix breakfast for someone on Saturday morning.

• Give a soft answer even though you feel strong.

• Encourage an older person.

• Point out one thing you appreciate most about someone you work with or live near.

• Offer to baby-sit for a weary mother.

• Give your teacher a break—be especially cooperative.

Let’s make Christmas one long, extended gift of ourselves to others. Unselfishly. Without announcement. Or obligation. Or reservation. Or hypocrisy.

That is Christianity, isn’t it?

Excerpted from Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, Copyright © 1983 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by arrangement with Zondervan Publishing House.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.