How Generosity Leads to True Joy

Ken Schafer

A Season to Celebrate

Joy and generosity are brothers, and we see them both in Bethlehem. In announcing the birth of Jesus, the angel said: “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

Do you see it?

We are to be joyful because the Savior was born for us. The birth of Jesus is an outpouring of God’s generosity to a sinful people, and we are to respond with joy. This is how generosity leads to true joy.

Good News and Good Work

Joy is better and less fleeting than happiness, especially the joy that comes from God. C.S. Lewis said, “Joy bursts in our lives when we go about doing the good at hand and not trying to manipulate things and times to achieve joy.” I love that quote because it describes the work the shepherds were doing when they received the good news. As they were watching sheep at night—good work, but hardly glamorous—they were the first witnesses as godly joy burst into the world.

And that joy was the result of a generous gift.

The Greatest Gift

It’s said that we give presents at Christmas because that is when God gave a gift to us. I’m admittedly cynical that our gift-giving motivations are always this pure. My children start telling me what they want for Christmas months in advance, and I’m pretty sure that celebrating the incarnation is not the filter through which they pass their wish list. Sometimes, our gift-giving becomes perfunctory or obligatory, and the older we get the harder it can be to give truly meaningful gifts.

But gifts—good gifts—do bring joy. And they bring joy to the giver as well as the receiver. God modeled this for us, and there is no question that it is true: Generosity leads to joy.

Joy and Generosity

As you do your shopping this Christmas, make your list and check it twice! ‘Tis the season to be jolly after all, and jolly is simply another word for “joyful.” But as you fill up your Amazon cart, remember that we give gifts to celebrate the best Gift-Giver. No present you can give will be as good as Jesus. Yet we can still give in meaningful, unexpected, and generous ways.

Give joy.