I was going to write this incredibly inspiring post about realizing there’s more to Christmas than getting gifts and all the material possessions we may desire, and then I realized it’s been done before… on multiple occasions, and by multiple people. What else could I say that hasn’t already been said? I guess I could tell it from my own perspective and through the illustration of how I’ve learned this most important lesson.
I’ll keep it short though.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, ever since I can remember. I love listening to and singing along with Christmas music, decorating the tree, making and eating all those holiday goodies we regret later, buying and wrapping presents, and opening my gifts. But like so many others, by getting wrapped up in wrapping paper and such, we often forget the true meaning of the holiday.
By the way, the true meaning isn’t just the quality time and the giving and loving we do more at this time of year, though that is what creates those warm, fuzzy feelings. Whether you believe in Him or not, Christmas would not exist if one amazing gift had not been given a couple thousand years ago… the greatest gift ever given, because of what He would give to all of us a little over thirty years later. Jesus was sent to sacrifice everything for us. No, I’m not going to preach. I just think it is beautiful and needs to be kept in mind.
2 Corinthians 8:9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. (NLT)
I certainly do not want to become poor, but I understand the idea behind giving in a way I didn’t for so long. When Robert lost his job, it sure felt like we were poor, and we were unable to give gifts for Christmas, something that depressed me. As you grow older, you receive less gifts, so it wasn’t that part that made me sad, but that I wouldn’t be going out in search of the “perfect” gifts for all my loved ones, hoping to outdo what I had done the year before. Don’t get me wrong. Robert and I always budgeted for our gift-giving so as not to spend what we didn’t have, but we always budgeted generously, especially for each other. It became almost a contest to see who could stretch the money we allocated for each other the furthest and still get awesome presents. It wasn’t as much about blessing the other person as it was about the process.
Somehow in all of that, we lost the simplest joy of Christmas. Now that Robert is working again, we decided not to change much from what we did the last two years while he was unemployed. We are buying gifts for the small kids in our lives, and other than that, we are giving to those who are in need, and through charities and projects we believe in. If the adults in our lives do not understand this, than they really don’t know us that well.
I’m not saying giving gifts to family and friends is a bad practice- just try to keep it all in perspective. Giving doesn’t have to be material objects either; giving time and love, or something you create yourself should be more important than a reindeer sweater with a puffy red nose someone will re-gift anyway.
Keep it simple. Keep it heartfelt. Keep it in perspective, and keep others in mind.