Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

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December 25, 2021: The Best Gift

“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Prov. 11:24–25, NIV).

For me, Christmas has always been a time of immense gratitude for all that God has done in my life. However, amid the wonderful festivities and excitement—glimmering lights, delicious food and gifts wrapped with bows—it’s easy to forget that for some, these displays are a further reminder of what they don’t have.

Some of these folks live in our communities, go to our schools and work in our organizations. Some of them wake up, put on a badge and go to work—just like we do. One day, I was chatting with a staff member at one of our hospitals who shared the plight of her colleagues struggling to put food on the table and pay bills, let alone spend money on anything extra. It touched my heart and was a startling reminder that outward appearances can be deceiving.

When Jesus came to this earth as a baby more than 2,000 years ago, each of us were given a remarkable gift—the promise of forgiveness and the hope of eternal life. The “glad tidings and great joy” that Jesus brought, and the gifts He gives, transcend economic barriers and earthly status. When it comes to God’s love, we’re all on the same level. One way we can reflect His love to our communities is to give graciously and continuously, just like He does for us.

This Christmas, I pray that God will open our eyes and hearts to see the needs of those around us and remind us that giving isn’t seasonal.

God, You have given so much to us. May we be Christlike and give freely to others. Amen.

Fred Manchur is the CEO of Kettering Adventist HealthCare in Ohio.