Gift, Gratitude, and Grace
We have just finished a wonderful season marked by giving gifts to all whom we love and care for. This is a remarkably appropriate tradition as we contemplate the greatest gift we’ve ever received in the birth of Jesus. The practice makes me think about three deeply interconnected words: gift, gratitude and grace. These words have so many important connections to the Christmas season and beyond.
First, there is God’s gift to us humans in Jesus. Second, is our gratitude to God for caring for and loving us by sending a savior and fulfilling His Holy Scriptures. Third, we see God’s grace as never before in His ultimate gift of the loving, serving and giving Jesus.
I’ve asked myself, are these three words also appropriate
for the donations given through ARDF?
It’s my observation that Christmas donations (or any donations, for that matter) through ARDF have a similar effect as those gifts we give in our immediate family. In reality, these donations to ARDF are gifts given through our worldwide Anglican family. How do these three words – gift, gratitude and grace – become real in the lives of people we don’t know? I’ve noticed that when donating through ARDF you can see these God centered values at work in peoples’ lives.
Let’s look at each word separately:
A gift is something given voluntarily without thought of repayment to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or offer assistance. Yes, ARDF’s grants do all these things, and these special gifts always meet a specific need in a dire situation. ARDF also measures the level of need for each of our projects and its impact on peoples’ lives.
A donor’s gift enables the Anglican family to get larger and show our brothers and sisters that we really care. Plus, the recipient may consider our gift as a token of God’s love. The gift blesses both the donor and recipient.
Gratitude is our response to the free and unmerited favor of God manifested through salvation of sinners (including all of us) and the many blessings in our lives. We see this humble reaction of thankfulness over and over again in the lives of both ARDF donors and grant recipients. Stories abound of hearts and lives changing as the result of these gifts. Inevitably, gratitude is both the cause and the result of each ARDF donation.
The grace of God, which enables both the donor to give and the recipient to receive, becomes evident as both parties walk closer with Christ. Being obedient to Jesus’ words “it is better to give than to receive” motivates the donor, consequently blessing others. Jesus tells us to “keep on asking and you’ll receive what you ask for. Keep seeking and you will find…” We reflect God’s grace as we both give to and receive from others.
In 2015, ARDF will continue to partner with Anglican churches in the poorest regions of the world as they transform their own communities by providing,
- Clean water for the sick and thirsty
- Jobs for the poor
- Education for children and adults
- Food for the starving and hungry
- Healing for the sick and traumatized
- Urgent relief in times of disaster
- The message of hope in Christ for those without hope
Thank you for your Christmas season donations and for reflecting God’s grace to people you do not even know. You’ve made a generous and hope-producing difference in the lives of many throughout the world.
In His service,
Canon William E. DeissHelp raise awareness: