Generosity – More or Less

It occurred to me earlier this year that some of my recent attempts to be the perfect Christmas hostess have failed rather miserably. I usually start out with the best of intentions—filled with a spirit of true generosity and wanting to provide a warm, welcoming  gathering in my home on Christmas Day.

However as my Martha Stewart-esque ambitions evolve over time-growing to greater and grander heights in the weeks approaching Christmas—it is that same spirit of generosity that has often been sacrificed in pursuit of more worldly goals.

The result has been a Christmas that looks better than it feels; with the key ingredient of generosity often falling by the way side in the process of making everything perfect.

My awakening to this difficult reality came during a meeting of the Council of the North in Pinawa, Manitoba in October. On day two of the gathering, just after lunch, I was catching up on a few emails when Bishop Michael Hawkins burst into the meeting room. The Bishop was around the mid-point of an impromptu sermon, talking about the challenges of the church and waxing poetic about how the nature of those challenges—even the financial ones—might in fact be part of God’s plan to motivate us to go to new and better places as a community of faith. With great emphasis he said, “We need to ask ourselves…can we be generous with less and do more?”

His words made me think about the church for sure, but they also got me thinking about areas of my own life. I thought of my mother-in-law and how little time I have spent with her in this 88th year of her life. Mom enjoys spending Christmas at our home and she has always been welcome, but the past few years I’ve been too busy tending to all the details to give her the simple gift of time and attention she would enjoy more than anything.

Last year she brought her Christmas mail (cards and newsletters) for me to read aloud because she can no longer see well enough to read them herself. During less hectic years, this became a seasonal tradition for the two of us. But as she prepared to leave last Boxing Day I saw the unread mail in her purse and suddenly remembered the all too important detail that had fallen off my radar. I hope that this year—by scaling back and planning to do less—I will be able to focus on doing the more that really matters.

So this powerful little question “Can we be generous with less and do more?” has become part of my personal generosity toolkit and it’s a wonderful analytical device that can help me get to the heart of the matter and discover how to deepen generosity even during times of great challenge.

How have you discovered you can do more with less? How have you done this personally, or as part of a family or faith community? Write to me at and share your story.

In this blog, Michelle Hauser, manager of annual giving, tackles the topic of generosity—from small stories of daily inspiration to the overall mission of the church.

  • gruthsaumders

    A very good thought provking artical and so true. Thanks for reminding me that the gift of time is so important.