Seasons of Special Focus for Disciples’ Generous Response
As we receive and celebrate what Advent means, we should remember that this season of traditions is not just symbolic. The generosity reflected in the birth of Christ represents a moment we are meant to participate in year after year. Advent is the ultimate time to celebrate and receive God’s abundant blessings.
Think about it. The reality is that before Jesus gave anything to the world he received first…
- Room at the inn
- The gifts from the wise men
- The blessings and prayers of many
As we journey through Advent, our focus should be on receiving all that this season brings with it. And in the receiving of God’s abundance, we will be reminded that God calls us to then bless the world with our own gifts.
During the season of Advent, the Disciples’ Generous Response moments should focus on celebrating and receiving God’s abundant blessings and responding from a place of gratitude for those gifts.
No expression of grace and generosity is as complete as the life of Jesus, God’s Son freely given to all. The gift of God’s Son shows God’s grace and love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be save through him.” (John 3:16-17). “Grace” expresses God’s gift of eternal life and commitment to save the world.
God’s astonishing generosity in the life of Jesus is the ultimate example of generosity. God loved us, and we love in response to being loved. We become whole when we receive God’s gift of Jesus Christ realizing that all we are and have is from God, who gives freely with no strings attached.
—Stassi Cramm, ed., Choose Generosity, pg 24, (Herald Publishing House)
Generosity is at the heart of God’s relationship with us, God gives to us fully in the life of Christ, nothing is held back. Lent can be a time for us to reflect on that generosity of God and consider how we can learn to give the best of ourselves to God in a way that will set a pattern for us for the future.
St. Augustine encourages us to reflect on God’s generosity by having empty hands.
God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.
Lent can be a time when we make space in our lives, to let go so that we can have empty hands and see what God wishes to place in them. And then out of deep sense of humility and gratitude, we can respond by sharing God’s generosity with others.
During the season of Lent, the Disciples’ Generous Response moments should focus on making space in our lives to receive God’s generous gifts and blessings.
Generosity Cycle Focus (Six Weeks Prior to Advent)
Community of Christ has various seasons it celebrates throughout the year, where our gaze is focused in a certain direction and we spend time in meaningful reflection and preparation (such as Lent and Advent).
These periods of time aren’t meant to be a burden or a distraction; instead they are about preparation, focus, and being intentional. The Generosity Cycle provides a structure for being intentional about generosity.
Intentionality is the main principle behind the Generosity Cycle, as it guides us through four phases: Invite, Discover, Respond and Reflect. It’s not about raising money – it’s an opportunity to create space for a spiritual discipline. It’s an invitation to discover the deeper joy in discipleship through intentional whole-life stewardship. It’s an intentional period of time for reflection to recognize the grace of God that forms our generous response. It’s a way of guiding us into and through a season of generosity.
The Generosity Cycle begins with six weeks of Disciples’ Generous Response focus time right before Advent.
Additional materials and suggestions for congregations are available.