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God—the great “give-away-er”

Cedar Springs United Methodist
140 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs
Pastor Mary Ivanov

Last week, I was watching the evening news, and a “good news” story came on.  Though these kinds of stories don’t get a lot of press, I know good news happens everyday. This story was about a man named Loren Krueger who had given away a total of over $3 million dollars to all of the churches and many organizations in his hometown of LeRoy, Minnesota. People were stunned by Krueger’s gift, especially because he seemed very frugal with his money. It was only after his death that people realized how generous he was. His gifts to the community have allowed churches to offer new ministries, the local senior center to thrive, and the community nursing home to make much needed improvements so that they can better care for the residents who live there.
When the news was over, my daughter asked some questions about what this man had done. And then she said, “Wow, he was a great give-away-er!” I wrote down her quote immediately because I’d never heard that expression before.
As I sat thinking about what she said, I realized that she hit on the true spirit of Christmas. Yes, we give gifts out of love and thankfulness, but we also give because our faith rests in a God who is the ultimate Giver of all that is good. God is a great give-away-er!
On Friday and Saturday, many of us will gather in our churches to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I look forward to Christmas Eve services every year. And it’s not just good memories that come back for me; it’s faith memories.  I remember sitting with my family and singing hymns. I remember going out of church and seeing stars on cold, clear nights. I remember the wonder of those moments as a child.
And even though we might know the story (read in Matthew 1: 18-25 and Luke 2: 1-20), every time we gather, the Holy Spirit brings it to our hearts again. Jesus is the One who comes to save us from our sins. Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us!  Jesus is the One the people had waited for—the Messiah.  And, Jesus is the One we have been waiting for!
God is a great give-away-er! God gives us the most precious gift of all—the Son of God who comes to be with us and be one of us so that we might know better what God is like and what God wants us to be like as we live in God’s world.
As you give gifts this year, remember that God is a great give-away-er who offers you a gift that cannot be bought in a store or online. God offers a relationship that brings forgiveness, healing, and hope. As you worship this year, I pray that the story that’s so familiar would sound fresh and new on your ears so that you can claim God’s promises again or for the first time.
And if don’t have a church home or have been away for a while, consider getting back to church or trying it out for the first time. I invite you to worship with us on Christmas Eve at 7:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., join us this Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
We share the love and hope of Jesus Christ!

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