Christmas is all about giving, but how many of us stop to think about the reasons why we give and how it relates to our faith?

For Christians, the surprise of Christmas is the baby being born, in poverty and in exile, but too often that baby gets lost behind the pile of presents. We are surrounded by gift giving and receiving and it's important to remember the overwhelming generosity of God in the midst of that and to think about what we are giving back. Could you give your church a Christmas present, either financially or in terms of your time?

Statistics show that increasing numbers of people are coming into our churches over the Christmas period. Carol services, Christingles and Christmas tree festivals are all an opportunity to show God's generosity to our local community. Rather than being tempted to grumble about those that only come into church once a year, welcome them in to share God's most generous gift to our world in Jesus and also give them a chance to respond to that generosity.Visitors will often want to say thank you for a good experience and we should make that as easy for them as possible...but we shouldn't expect it!

Christmas is also a time when many of our congregations will be sharing the generosity of God beyond the walls of our churches. Collecting presents for children in care or living in women's hostels and making extra donations to food banks.

Stewardship in its widest sense often comes alive in the festivals, but in the busyness of the season, it is often not considered in a planned way. What will you be doing over Advent and Christmas to share the generosity of God and allow others to do so too?