(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Editor’s Note: December, 2021
By Sarah Komisky
‘Tis the season to give!’ Yet the elephant in the room is the one not hung as an ornament on your tree, but one that visits you on the inside, an elephant of giving. While giving is wonderful, if the motive is unprocessed, it can be viewed more as an awkward uninvited guest that shows up this time of the year. This guest represents many different emotions and thoughts that say, “How do we give when nothing is returned?” “How do we give when we financially have a deficit?” “How do I give when physically, I have limits?” “How do I give when it doesn’t seem enough?” “How do I give out of grace and not guilt? How do I give without worrying my gift will not get here at all?” Does that elephant sound familiar?
We maneuver around his large frame and obliviously offer him egg nog. But, we never ask how this guest is really feeling, even when the guest tries his best to be festive – ugly sweater and all. Often we ignore the real feelings we have about giving because we don’t take time to acknowledge it’s there. This Christmas, what if we didn’t?
Jesus has said it better to give than to receive. So, how does giving become a blessing and how can we define it? Maybe it’s redirecting back to the ultimate gift – Jesus Christ Himself! Christ was given selflessly to humanity without expectations or strings attached to whoever would receive Him. Furthermore, the circumstances surrounding Christ’s birth were lowly. Jesus was not born into wealth. And, the gift given wasn’t a forced or a manipulated event of God out of guilty motives. In fact, it was heralded in as “good news.”
As we see from the Christmas story, giving stems from the heart. Look at the characters surrounding the story and you see poor shepherds offering their voices to share the good news, wise men offering financial provision for Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph offered their full heart in trust and worship to God. Everyone gave. But, everyone gave differently; what they had, where they were. So it is with us.
That is why this issue at Marked Ministry Magazine, we are honored to center our writing around the theme, “Pay it Forward.” We want to give our gifts and talents in writing, photography, and artistry to you to bring hope this holiday season. We believe because we have received much, we want to give back. To join us in the giving experience, we’ve asked our MM friend, Chris Cleveland of Stars Go Dim to share more about his newest EP, “The First Noelle,” and much more. In turn, we hope these articles encourage you and ignite a new perspective on giving, starting from the heart.
And, we also want to give you permission to acknowledge the elephant and find ways to work with that guest to give what you can at this very moment. What’s in your grasp? Monetarily or not, how can you use it to be a blessing? Only you can bring that gift and it is not a small thing.
So, this Christmas, why not pay it forward? Maybe it’s praying for someone who is hurting. Or, befriending someone who is lonely. Christmas doesn’t have to mean the pressure of finding the “ultimate present.” That is already here with us, Emmanuel, God with us. Now, we can give out of the good we have received. Maybe paying it forward is on ongoing posture. A million little gifts that all matter, that all make Christmas extra special.
May you give out of what you have freely received. With a joyful heart. Guilt-free. Elephants included.
Welcome to the Pay It Forward Issue! Merry Christmas!