During this time of year it’s difficult to not hear bell ringers outside of stores asking you to donate your spare change. Bins are conveniently placed in supermarkets to donate cans of food for those who are hungry. Trucks will even show up at your door and pick up clothing to help warm people in this cold wintery season.
It would take very little effort on our part to help the disadvantaged during this season. Shouldn’t we then take advantage of this easy way to alleviate at least some suffering in this world? After all, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” (James 1:27). It would SEEM right to give during this time of the year, but we must not fail to take into consideration the latter part of verse 27, “…and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
As good as donations might be in helping those who suffer, most given during this holiday season will be used to propagate pagan traditions. We are warned about taking part in this kind of activity: “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me’” (Matthew 15:7-8). No matter how good giving might feel, if we are adding to the traditions of men, we will also be driving people away from God—something we must strive NOT to do!
The poor are still hungry and in need of help outside of this season, and giving our assistance shouldn’t merely be emptying our cupboards and pockets of unwanted items during the month leading to Christmas.
Christ said we should have a giving attitude to those who demand something of us. We should walk an extra mile or offer our shirt in addition to our coat. Service to our brother means sacrifice of ourselves—not the superficial offerings that this season inspires.