December 22, 2017
Christmas has always been a special time for me, and some of my fondest memories from my childhood are from Christmas. As I grew up it remained special. In fact, one Christmas I proposed to Kathy! I wrapped her engagement ring in a million boxes, and after the final box there was a can of peas. She thought this was a big joke! I gave her a can opener and told her to open it, and In the can of peas was her engagement ring! It’s a memory I treasure to this day. That isn’t to say that every year was filled with an overflow of gifts!
A Poor Man’s Christmas
Although we didn’t always have a ton of money we somehow always managed to make Christmas a fun time. I know that as some of you are approaching next week you may be carrying around some shame or sadness over not being able to buy Christmas gifts this year. One year we didn’t have money to buy gifts, so we made them. We also couldn’t afford to decorate the tree, so we made popcorn garlands and paper snowflakes to decorate.
If you, or maybe someone you know, is facing this Christmas with financial strains I want to encourage you to check out this week’s Flashback Friday video (from an old Facebook Live) for some perspective:
- Sometimes when extended families get together for Christmas, everyone is in different financial seasons. Some can afford to spend a lot on each person, but then there’s also guilt for those who don’t have a ton to spend.
- It’s important we don’t make Christmas about presents, but that we make it about presence, God’s presence and family.
- Whether you have money or not, I want you to know that your presence is more important than bringing a gift. You just showing up is a gift!
- I want to encourage you that if you’re in a season where you don’t have a ton of money, and therefore feel like Christmas is a day you fail, that’s just not true!
- One year all I could afford to do was write cards for my kids. I spent a few hours writing down what I love about them and what I was dreaming for them. That was one of my favorite Christmases to see tears run down their faces as they read my heart for them in the cards.
- If you don’t have a lot to give, give yourself. Go the party, be the life of the party, wipe the shame off of your life and I promise people will understand if you couldn’t bring a gift.
- On a more practical side, I also want to encourage you to develop some kind of family tradition. My grandmother made a crab soup, Cioppino, every Christmas, and that tradition has brought so much joy in my family. It wasn’t just about the meal but about the tradition and fun of it. My mom picked that up after my grandmother passed and we’ve been doing it my whole life. Now Kathy makes it.
- Even if you have a bunch of money, make Christmas about connecting with your family and having a ton of fun!
Choose Presence This Year
Regardless of your financial season I want to encourage you to take a moment right now to be present with yourself and with the Lord. Thank Him for the things He’s done in your life this year, and ask Him what He loves about you. I really believe that receiving the gift of His love is one of the most life-changing things you can do. As you go into next week carry that love with you as your gift.
Choose to be present with the people around you, show up fully and don’t hide yourself in any way. Remember that you were created to be a gift to the world around you, and the holiday season can be a time to bring life and love wherever you go! I bless you with hope, joy and a ton of fun this season! May it be filled with laughter and connection! What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!
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