On the sixth day of Christmas,
the Lord God said to me,
“Share your time and talents.”
My parents offered beautiful examples of cheerful giving for me and my family. One of the best ways they taught this lesson was every year on Christmas Day. My dad would cook a turkey for Floyd, his trailer park manager, every year. Before we sat down to our own dinner, Dad and one or more of our family members would take Floyd and his wife the turkey. I remember the year Dad forgot to take the turkey. We were all seated around our dining table ready for the feast before us. Dad’s face went suddenly pale, and he jumped up, grabbed his coat and bolted out the door, horrified that Floyd had slipped his mind.
As we pulled up to Floyd’s house about thirty minutes later, Dad apologized for being so late. I remember Floyd’s gracious and confident response, “We weren’t worried. I knew you’d come.” Dad loved to cook and sharing that talent with others was one of the gifts he gave from his heart. In sharing with his whole heart, my dad taught me to give my best and to give gladly to others.
- In what ways do you share your energy, your time, or your talents? When do you give with your whole heart?
- Are there times when you struggle to share or give with your whole heart?
- What are some different ways you might share your time and talents, or open your heart more in your current giving?
Aptitude Test: Invite everyone in your family to take an online gifts assessment or aptitude test that asks what activities you like, what you’d like to learn, and what your strengths are. Compare the results to see where there is overlap. Then think of a way you can share your family’s combined best talents. (Our full communion partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, offers a free online spiritual gifts assessment for adults here and for youth here.)
Giving and Receiving: Think and talk about a time where you started off giving but ended up receiving more than you gave.
We may struggle with how to share with our whole selves—either worrying that what we have isn’t good enough or big enough, or will leave us empty. In “Carol of the Bells” we are reminded to throw our cares away, be joyful, and share that joy with others.
Sing along with the six verses of our “12 Days of Christmas” song.
Help me to give of myself with a joyful and generous heart, even in moments where it isn’t easy to share. Guide me to give and share the best of me with the people you have placed in my life so that they may come to know you and the love you offer us with Jesus. Amen.
Passages in both the Old and New Testaments teach us about how to go about giving and sharing with our neighbors. Read Proverbs 11:24-25 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-9. Think about how these passages are similar. Then read 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and Matthew 6:1-4 and think about ways we can give in love without being boastful about doing what God has asked us to do.
What talent has God given you? How can you share it?