Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I heard comedian Tim Hawkins talk about the absurdity of the lyrics of that song and it started me thinking . . . .

Check out this logic! That song perpetuates “Toxic Charity” – where the giver does what he/she wants to regardless of what the person needs.

First – you have a night wind talking to a lamb, asking the lamb if it sees what the wind sees.

The wind sees a star and wants the lamb to see and experience that same star.

The good news is, somehow the lamb ends up seeing the star, so then the lamb connects with a shepherd boy.

“Hey boy! Do you hear what I hear? There’s a song ringing through the sky with a voice as big as a sea.”

After the lamb convicts the boy that he has heard this new, great thing, the boy goes to the mighty king . . . and here is where the story takes an even more bizarre and “toxic charity” turn.

The boy says to the king, “Do you know what I know? There is this baby . . . it is shivering in the cold. Hey – let’s bring him silver and gold!”

So . . . there is a baby that is shivering in the cold, but instead of some clothes or a blanket, let’s just throw some silver and gold on him! That makes LOTS of sense!

Sometimes that is what we do with our gift giving or our charitable giving! We give things that WE think people “need” instead of giving them what they ask for.

When God revealed Godself to humanity through the Christ-child, God was giving the ultimate gift. But it was not a toxic charity where God was just “throwing some stuff at people” hoping something would stick.

God knew that we were created to be in relationship with one another. So – in order for us to experience the beauty of God and the beauty of relationships . . . the Savior, the ultimate gift of the world, came in the form of one that we could have relationship with.

That is one of the most beautiful parts of our faith journey. We are not worshiping some God that we can’t really ever “grasp.” We are worshiping a God that came and dwelt among us. As the Gospel of John says, “The Word became flesh and blood,

and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.”

What an amazing gift! A gift of relationship . . . not a toxic charity where the gift was given so that the giver could feel good about his/her self . . but instead a gift given with the receiver in mind!

How can you receive the gift of relationship with a Loving and Mighty God this Christmas?