Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7 RSV

Do you want to increase your joy this Christmas season? Try some “hilarious giving.”

The term came to me from radio preacher Charles Swindoll when he said that the Greek word translated as “cheerful” in this passage is “hilaros”—obviously connected to our English word, “hilarious.”

“Be,” he said, “a hilarious giver”—meaning one who gives above and beyond, who is unexpectedly generous.

Writer Ann Voskamp, in her wonderful book, “The Greatest Gift,” refined the idea for me. During the Advent season, she and her family did all kinds of crazy, unexpected things, like:

  • scattering dollar bills up and down the aisles in the Dollar Store.
  • buying coffee for people in line at Starbuck’s.
  • giving the clerk at the grocery store extra money for the person behind them.
  • taking flowers to all the folks at a nursing home.
  • over-tipping the waitress when they had lunch.
  • making cookies for the local firemen.

You get the idea. I did, too. Right now, I have an envelope in my purse, waiting for the opportunity, that Nudge from God that this is the person to bless, that this is moment to spread His love and joy.

At this season, we’re also asked to give to all kinds of worthy charities. I do some of that, too, and it’s certainly appropriate. But I get more fun out of giving immediate, unexpected gifts to people I don’t know. They may need the gift; they may not. They may spend it foolishly. That’s not mine to decide.

But in this dark, crazy world we live in, who doesn’t need a blessing, a touch of “hilarious giving?”

Paul promises God will provide blessings for givers. It’s true. I’ve found the one who ends up with the most hilarity is…me!

God loved the world—and me—so much that He gave us His Son to be born among us as a tiny, helpless baby, laid in a feeding trough, raised in a remote village among common ordinary people. To live as one of us. To die to save us from ourselves. I will never, ever understand it, but I believe it’s true.

At Christmas, God gave the unexpected to the undeserving.

I have no choice but to do likewise.

FATHER GOD: What fun we have, looking for folks to bless! Thank You for Your amazing love…and the chance to pass it on. Amen.