When we think of abundance, we tend to think of excess. At least that is where my mind usually goes. If I have an abundance of tomatoes in my garden, for instance, I can (put up) tomatoes, or make salsa and sauce. If I have an overabundance, I give them away to my neighbors and friends. I used to have a co-worker who grew zucchini every year. When each season gave way to harvest, mounds of zucchini would show up in the break room, begging to be taken and baked into bread and sending us to the zucchini Pinterest pages.
Sometimes, the holidays send us into excess. More holiday baking, more gift giving (buying), more decorating, more fa-la-la-ing. Having just moved into a new home, I find myself having outdoor Christmas lighting envy. It is taking everything I have not to run to Lowes or Home Depot to buy a big blow up nativity set. After all, being a pastor means that my outdoor decorations need to show the reason for the season, not the Santa, reindeer or candy canes.
One of my favorite seasons of the year is Advent, the time of waiting before Christmas. During Advent we have the opportunity to slow down and savor the abundant life that we have already been given, more hope, more peace, more joy, and more love, than we can even imagine yet manage. It is these gifts that we are free to give away and not be depleted. The more of any of these things that we give away the more we receive. This is God’s economy. The abundance that we are given is also the abundance of our neighbor. It is how we take care of one another. 
My friend Amy, wrote a devotional inspired by Genesis 2:20-21, the story of the creation of Adam and Eve. ‘We are told that there was “no suitable helper (for Adam) was found,” so God crafted us in that same image. We too should consider how God crafted us in that same image.’ We were made from abundance, and living by giving ourselves away as suitable helpers is the call of creation and the vocation of our being. Consider this Advent season how differently our culture calls us into what abundance means and what a spiritual abundance means for yourself, your loved ones and the whole world.
This Advent may you find joy in giving away your abundance of peace, joy, love and hope.
-Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com