A place of writing and reflection…
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, first, Jesus Christ might show all patience, as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the eternal, immortal, invisible King, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever. Amen.
—1 Timothy 1:15-17
So Christmas has come and gone this week.
Our tree still stands in the kitchen—at least until New Years with no more packages littering it’s base. (Our eighteen-month-old got to open most of them.) We had homemade Chinese for dinner with sweet and sour pork, chicken fried rice, and Chinese doughnuts (as may very well become family tradition). We spent a good portion of the day just spending time together, resting from the work week, and making sure big sister didn’t hit little sister with her play frying pan again.
Last year we bought our first tree—a six foot white one we decorate with blue and silver ornaments our toddler likes to take off of it. Last year it guarded a small pile of gifts for friends and family. This year our tree did the same with its cool glow of blue lights our two-month-old loves to stare at from her swing.
But this year was different.
You see we went through a rough patch, financially, after coming back from our Texas trip while we tried to get my husband a job change. Three of those boxes under that tree only contained gifts because they had been bought before our trip, one of which was actually a forgotten birthday gift repurposed for the season.
I’m not complaining.
I’m actually grateful.
But I was even more grateful when my husband landed his new job and we were able to cover the important things—like bills.
Something else I’m grateful for.
Ever since I was a kid I always remembered being told by my mother how tight money was in our house. But every year without fail she would give my brother and I the Sears wish book and tell us to pick something out $20 or under. I vaguely remember highlighting things like dolls and such and getting onto my brother for always picking the ones that were so much more expensive.
“Mom can’t afford that,” I would tell him to no avail.
And yet for some reason every year that really expensive item would find its way under the tree for him.
I couldn’t make sense of it.
If we were poor, why would you put yourself in debt to pay for something you said we can’t afford, mom?
Granted she was trying to be a “good mom”, but she was also spoiling my brother by going outside her means (and rules) for him.
Yes, there was that slight tinge of jealousy as such never have been allowed for me, but my main concern was for the money spent on those highly priced gifts.
Even more so as adult it draws my concern as I see pictures of Christmas trees drowning in gifts.
Not from jealousy.
What happened to the meaning of Christmas?
The Savior born to save the souls of man? The gift from God that should inspire those gifts we place beneath artificial branches?
My husband says his best Christmas he can remember was not one of enormous mounds of gifts either.
He and his brother both got sweaters that year and mom had him pose with his in front of a dresser. It had been a difficult time for mom that year, but this occasion best for Charles.
A friend recently said she didn’t care much for Christmas because of the gifts.
“People stress themselves out trying to buy the perfect gift, spend more money than they need to, and then they’re disappointed on Christmas day when they don’t get what they wanted”, she said.
I might have to agree.
Maybe its this year’s tight budget that helps, but I doubt it.
Money is not the issue.
It’s more like maturity.
I guess I’ve grown past the childish need for gifts and while I want to give our children such on this day of days I want them both to understand we don’t do it because it’s “the thing to do” or because a man in bright red suit cheers us to do so.
No, I want them to know its because of the Christ child born so long ago—God’s gift to us who would die for our salvation only a few years later. I want to teach them that the number of packages under the tree or the dollar amount spent should never be the focus.
Will I buy them gifts?
Will the tree be swimming in them?
Probably—most likely—not. And not because of money.
Because of the real reason for the Season.
Jesus Christ our Lord.
My mother-in-law is a good example of this as she had all her grandbabies gather for a birthday party for Jesus this year as she has before. They made a cake and decorated with birthday banners and balloons. They sang happy birthday to Jesus and even made gifts for Him. One year they made paper hearts and put them in a stocking hung up on the wall just for Jesus.
It sounds strange, but it’s really not.
Mom wants to teach her grandkids what she didn’t know before when she was raising four young children of her own.
Likewise we have a chance, as her children, to teach our own the proper meaning of Christmas—and make it a different kind of Christmas.
A Christmas not engulfed in wrapping and bows, the years hottest toys, or latest goofy gadgets.
My husband told me this year he felt bad he didn’t buy me anything. But I don’t think I really needed anything this year.
Gifts are nice, yes.
But I’d rather watch our daughters smiling and giggling at each other under tree in their warm fuzzy Christmas jammies than to fret about buying them the next big thing.
The next big thing already came and it’s our job to teach them about Him.
Copyright The Faithbook 2014
Picture Curtesy of Hybrid works and Zastavki.com