Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fourth Tuesday of Advent (2014 Year B)

Today's Readings

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is gifts - both giving and getting gifts. As I have gotten older, I am more interested in the thoughtfulness involved and mostly don't give gifts if I can't find something that feels truly thoughtful and like it honors my relationship with that person. I'd much rather give someone nothing but my good wishes than something that feels like I just bought it to have something to give them.

And sometimes gifts aren't things and aren't intended to be gifts, but are. My friend Casie wrote on Facebook today about how she received a gift when they opened a new line at the grocery store just when she needed it because waiting in line is physically very difficult for her.

James 17:1 talks about gifts, referring to gifts from God, but I think it applies to our being generous as well.
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Generosity is hard. I think being greedy, at least to the point of wanting to keep what you have, is human nature. If nothing else, we want to save for the bad times, in part because we don't trust that others will be generous to us when we are in need. (And you only need to look at the difficulties people have getting social security and VA benefits that they have paid into and deserve to see that this is a valid concern.) There is also the concern that the people you are giving to don't actually need what you gave them. Or need it less than you do. I had a job in the early 90's where part of my job was to chase off the people begging in the company owned property next door. At barely over minimum wage, I wasn't paid enough to do that, but when company officials were likely to come by, I'd go over and ask them to leave so I wouldn't get fired. I got to know some of the beggars and they were making more than I was. That's not to say they weren't deserving, I'm a believer in guaranteed minimum income and if begging is what you need to do to get what you need, go for it.

On a completely different note, I got into an interesting conversation on Twitter today about justice. Since it is related to things I've spoken about here, I'm going to share it. (I have no clue why Twitter thinks today is the 24th.)

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