Lavishly Receive, Lavishly Give


Of all the months of the year, December is the month I most associate with the word lavish. Extravagant decorations. Ornate parties. Gourmet foods.

Still, the Christmas season is lavish in other ways, too. But the cacophony that echoes through the month of December drowns out those ways.

God calls each of us to serve Him in a unique way. But we can become so busy fulfilling our call that we focus on the “doing.” Especially during the Christmas season.

We want to do better—to parent well, to teach effectively, even to celebrate with more joy. And we do it to the best of our ability. Problem is, our ability is limited. We struggle with inadequacy as we represent the King of Kings. We become distracted by the world’s definition of what Christmas is all about, and we forget to seek His enabling to accomplish His purposes.

Busyness overwhelms us, so much so that we forget who we belong to. The God of love loves us, not because we serve, but because He lavishly pours out His love on us. And it’s all due to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

When we understand who we are—and who we belong to—God releases His power in us and through us to represent Him. The order is important. Identity comes before service. Being comes before doing. Reveling in His mercy, peace, and love comes before ministry in His name.

Before you bake the next batch of Christmas cookies or plan your next holiday brunch, take a moment to remind yourself what God says about you. “I love you with a lavish, everlasting love. It has nothing to do with what you do, but it has everything to do with who you are: a beloved child of the King kept by My almighty hand” (Jeremiah 31:3).

And because God lavishly loves us with an everlasting love, we’re able to extend that same love just as lavishly to others. He equips us in every way to fulfill the purpose to which He called us, so that we may serve Him fully and without fear. We’re free to give generously, not just financially and materially, but even more importantly, we’re free to give of ourselves.

“Mercy, peace and love are ours in abundance” (Jude 2). May we generously share that love in the same spirit of abundance this season…and every month in the new year.

Ava Pennington

After a 20-year corporate career, Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. Her book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries. Ava has also written for numerous magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse. Her work has been published in 30+ anthologies, including 25 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Ava also teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. When she’s not writing and teaching, Ava enjoys playing with her mischievous 5-year-old Boxers, Duke & Daisy. For more information, visit

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