Three Ways to Show Generosity at Christmas

This post is adapted from a similar post on

This time of year, we’re all susceptible to getting caught up in the hubbub of church events, get-togethers with family and friends, shopping, cooking, and countless other tasks. In our busyness, it’s far too easy to neglect to show the people around us what we’re celebrating in the first place: Emmanuel, God with us. So, as Advent begins, why not be intentional about sharing God’s character through acts of kindness and generosity?

After all, Christmas is the season of giving, and there’s no better place to put generosity into action than right in your own church and community. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, we should be “rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others” (1 Tim. 6:18), so let’s look a few practical ways to do that this Christmas.

1. Bless Staff with an End-of-Year Bonus

If you’re a church leader, you know that it takes a lot of dedicated people behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly—and that service often goes unacknowledged. Showing staff members that their hard work is an important part of the life of the church with a small bonus (or even something like a gift card) accompanied by a thank-you note will remind them that their work is valued and appreciated.

I've seen churches do this in a number of ways.  Yes, it can be a formal decision by the church council, where people make donations for a staff gift.  But, it's also possible for individuals in the congregation to simply give gifts directly to staff.  Gene Olson, a member of my first congregation in Brooklyn, NY, used to give me a card with $100 bill every December.  It's a nice way to practice generosity and thank your staff.

2. Set Up a Giving Tree

Help the whole congregation embrace a spirit of generosity and spread some Christmas cheer by setting up a giving tree. You can partner with a local nonprofit or community organization that will connect you with families and individuals who need food, winter clothing, or financial help. Congregation members pick a recipient to donate to off of the giving tree, and your church as a whole has the opportunity to make a difference in your community this holiday season.

3. Be Neighborly

Sometimes it’s the people we’re around the most that are easiest to overlook—that family down the street, the co-worker in the next cubicle, that cashier or barista who you see every week. This season, make an effort to show love and generosity to some of those people, and encourage others to do the same. That might look like inviting a neighbor to an event at church, asking a co-worker over for dinner, or making a plate of Christmas cookies for someone you appreciate.

Sometimes it’s the practical, tangible expressions of kindness and generosity, however small—Christ’s love extended—that do the most to soften hearts and change lives. This Christmas, let’s be givers…not only will you be blessing others, but you also might just find your own outlook becoming a little more joyful.

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25 NLT


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