The Privilege of the Poor


I love Christmas! Well, really the entire holiday season. In my mind, everything leading up to it is simply an elaborate appetizer setting up the main dish. From the smell of pumpkin spice and cinnamon apples, Christmas music, the lights, trees, hot chocolate, big meals with family and friends—to the office parties, long lines, and even awkward gift exchanges—I love it all. But more then these redolent experiences, Christmas embodies the season of giving. Seeing the joy in both the giver’s eyes and the recipient’s heart is truly a treasure. The size or number of gifts never really matters as much as the expression of family. Mostly though, I love Christmas because it’s a practical reminder of the greatest gift ever given—our Christ.

The Gift of Giving

From the first words of the Holy Scriptures to the very last, we encounter a giving God—this is simply who He is. He gave words and the universe was put in place. He gave His breath and brought forth life. He gave humans a paradise to enjoy. (Just pause for a moment—or maybe a while—and imagine this gift of Eden: perfect beauty; the adventure of discovering the wonder of a complex and intricate Creation; and God’s joy-filled excitement in their amazement and child-like joy.) But then hiding in the shame of their betrayal, He gave them clothes and a way forward. He gave protection, a home, direction, leaders, miracles, and justice.

And finally . . . He gave Himself.

This giving God now invites us to be a giver. When we give, we participate in His character. We embody who He is at His core. So often though, we allow lies to steal this gift. We so easily believe the lie that giving is for somebody else (those wealthier than I am) or simply a matter of duty (not a joy-filled gift). Alliance Founder A. B. Simpson acknowledges this reality: “Giving is not the prerogative of the rich alone but the joyful privilege of the poor.” As the greatest giver of gifts, God Himself invites all of us—no matter our age, economic status, or level of societal privilege—to experience the gift of giving out of what we have, and at times out of what we don’t have. What a gift this gift-giving invitation is!

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