At Stewardship, we always consider Advent to be the perfect time to think about generosity. There’s nothing more generous than God sending His son into the world for us.

Everyone knows Christmas time as the season of giving, but what does that really mean for Christians? 

We know that this time of year can very quickly get very superficial, as well as being fraught with a lot of different emotions for people. So we always want to go back to the original nativity story that we know so well and look at it afresh. 

Last year we launched a new resource called Advent Unwrapped which focused on the big traditional themes of Advent – love, peace, joy and hope. We looked at how we can receive each of them as a gift from God and also share them with others. 


This year I went back to the Bible to see what other gifts were woven into the story. And was struck by the richness of the text and how different parts began to stand out. 

I’d always seen the angel as saying do not be afraid’ in a booming voice that was anything other than calming. But the angel was there to encourage Mary as well as to deliver his message. He spends time reminding her about the miracle of her relative Elizabeth’s pregnancy and of God’s faithfulness. 

When I looked at the magi, I realized the sheer perseverance it would have taken to reach Jesus. Despite the months of travel and the fact their journey disturbed’ Herod, they listened to God and were overjoyed when they finally reached Jesus. 

The shepherds showed incredible readiness – their very ordinary night shift was interrupted by this incredible news, and they dropped everything, leaving their sheep on the hillside and hurried to witness Jesus’ birth. 

Humility underpins so much of the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth. But it was Mary’s awareness of her own humility that really stood out as I read through the passages. She is so aware that she’s been blessed because of the intimacy that she is about to experience with the Son of God, and not because there is anything special about herself. Joseph, too, humbly accepts God’s plan, despite the potential social damage it would cause to their reputation. 

And so this year, we are looking at the gifts of encouragement, readiness, perseverance and humility over the four weeks before Christmas. 

Who might be struggling with loneliness at Christmas that we can become a gift of encouragement to? 

Advent is a time of waiting, but what if you’ve been waiting for something for so long that you’re about to give up? Who can we persevere for in prayer? It may not feel like a gift, but the Bible tells us perseverance will bring fruit in our lives. 

Many of us spend the December rushing around getting ready for Christmas, but would we be ready to drop all our arrangement and schedules for a friend in need? Are we so busy that we’ve forgotten what Advent really is about – remembering the birth of our Saviour and readying our hearts for his return? 

Advent Unwrapped includes four reflective blogs by writer Jennie Pollock, and video reflections each week from people who speak about what these gifts mean for them. 

We hope that Advent Unwrapped will help people to reflect on God’s great generosity to us and as how we can show it to those around us.