It would be easy to see this as a month of niceness. After all, for many, the call of generosity is equated with the call to be kind.
But that’s not the spiritual understanding, and certainly not the sort of gift our faith sees in generosity.
Generosity is transformative. It doesn’t just brighten our days; it changes how we relate to life. Life often hurts us. Can we be blamed for viewing it as a threat? But then these seemingly small or sentimental gestures come our way. In those simple moments, the world suddenly feels less cold. A crack sets in. Our obstacle course, winner-take-all view of life gives way to something softer. We may still hurt, but it also feels as though life itself is trying to help. That’s what generosity does. It transforms.
It also connects. Deep down we know the difference between giving and giving generously. The former is taken from our “extra.” The latter is taken from what is essential. It’s the difference between giving our loose change and giving of ourselves. And when you hand over a part of you to someone else, you’re tethered. Your vulnerability meets their vulnerability. Both of you feel seen; and less alone.
But generosity doesn’t stop there, at care and connection. It also challenges. True generosity doesn’t just ask us to care for people, it also asks us to call them out. When you look at life through the lens of generosity, charity loses its sheen and many of those who have much are exposed as hoarding what others need. Generosity undermines our comfortable views and invites justice in.
Transform. Connect. Challenge. Not the usual words we pair with generosity. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe the invitation this month is not just to be more generous, but to notice how generosity is bigger than we think.