the shape of leadership

Five Verses About Gift Giving

Passages to reflect on this Christmas

Christina Quick on December 17, 2021


This time of year, messages about gift giving are everywhere, from ads on social media to store signs reminding us how many shopping days remain until Dec. 25.

The Bible also has a lot to say about gift giving — and not just the kind that requires a credit card. Here are five New Testament verses to reflect on and share with your congregation this Christmas season:

1. Matthew 2:11

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

The Magi were the original Christmas gift givers. They didn’t just bring presents, however; they also took time to worship in Christ’s presence. This season, we would do well to follow their lead.

Hebrews reminds us to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise” and to “do good” and “share with others” (13:15–16). That is an excellent template for Christmas — and the rest of the year, too.

2. Luke 11:13

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Few things bring more joy during this season than experiencing Christmas through the eyes of a child. Just as parents look forward to seeing kids unwrap their presents on Christmas morning, Luke reminds us that God delights in giving the gift of the Holy Spirit to His children.

As you look ahead to the new year, ask God to pour out His Spirit afresh on your life and church.

3. Luke 21:4

“All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Jesus taught that
the most meaningful
gifts are not always
the biggest.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the buying frenzy that we forget giving is really a matter of the heart. Jesus taught that the most meaningful gifts are not always the biggest. The poor widow’s gift of two small coins — which was all she had — was so moving to Jesus that He pointed it out as an example to His followers.

I’m not suggesting we should spend all we have on gifts, of course. My point is that we can honor Jesus and bless others even if we don’t have a lot of material wealth. When we put all our thoughtfulness, creativity, and care into giving, people will remember the love more than the gift itself.

4. Acts 10:4

“Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.’”

Cornelius was a giver. And his gifts to the poor didn’t end there. Remarkably, God accepted them as His gifts as well. This is reminiscent of what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

During the holiday season, charitable giving receives a lot of attention. Remind your congregation that compassionately helping and sharing with others is one way to demonstrate love for Jesus throughout the year.

The angel let Cornelius know his giving had not gone unnoticed. What a joy that must have been for this faithful servant. Giving blesses everyone involved, including the giver — especially the giver. As Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

5. Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sin leads to death, but Jesus came to bring eternal life. This is the ultimate gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). As angels proclaimed at Jesus’ birth, “A Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

God’s gift to the world came to us humbly, wrapped in cloths (Luke 2:7). You don’t need a big production budget to proclaim Jesus this Christmas. Preach the simple message of the gospel to your community. There is no greater gift!

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