When my kids were little (I'm a grandfather of four these days), I used to say things to them such as “You're the prettiest girl I know. . . but I love you ANY WAY!" A smile would run away from their little faces as they pondered that thought. Seems everybody else loved them BECAUSE they were attractive.
I would ask them, “Have you prayed yet today?" When they informed me that they HAD prayed, I'd say, “Good. . . what did He say?" Again, they'd give dear ol’ dad “the look" as I chuckled, hoping to instill in them that prayer was a two-way conversation. .
Christmas was no different. When everyone was asking, “What are you getting for Christmas?" they could count on me to inquire, “So, what are you GIVING for Christmas?"
I love this time of year, probably because it brings back so many fond memories of simpler times of days gone by: a carol, twinkling lights, the smells and tastes of Christmas cookies. We're all sick of the commercialism that comes with this holiday, no doubt. Not to mention the buying of gifts that people will soon forget they received from you while it leaves so many of us absolutely broke.
A decade ago, I met a woman in California who, when her kids were young, decided she'd had quite enough of Commercial Christmas. She didn't like the hedonistic, materialistic lessons it was teaching her children and was taking dominion over the holiday; exercising her authority and changing things before it was too late.
They went cold turkey!
She informed them that Christmas was all about GIVING and they were about to “give" themselves silly. They begrudgingly gathered as many clothes and toys as they could and made a Christmas trek to a mission in Mexico. Mom organized the whole thing and her kids and hubby LOVED it. The family - now grown larger with in-laws and grandchildren - has been doing it now for decades. Not only that, but many other families have gotten on board with their Christmas Caravan over the years.
The cycle's been broken.
A tradition continues.
People are being blessed, the givers as well as the receivers.
Christmas remains a joyful occasion but with finances intact.
My own family's not so inclined. We're still spending more than Louisiana spends on flood control just on wrapping paper and postage alone. But my wife and I did do a few things differently this year. These things blessed me so much that it was obvious to me that, after getting a taste of it, THIS was going to continue NEXT year.
Frankly, I want to kick my current Christmas habit. Out with the OLD and in with the NEW!
What I'm doing now may be GOOD, but good is the arch-enemy of BEST!
What was it we did? This year, God brought some widows and orphans - unwed mothers and kids without dads - into my realm of influence, one from our own House Church. My heart was burdened and my wife and I agreed to give them some financial help. That's it. We blessed their socks off! Ours, too! What if, next year, we gave to a needy family in YOUR name? When I, Michael, gave someone a gift with some cash inside, what if the tag read that it was from YOU, dear friend?
How would that make you feel?
How must it make Jesus feel when we bless people in HIS name?
Just thinking. It really IS more blessed to give than to receive.
Have a blessed Christmas everyone!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
His mission is to bring Discipleship and Encouragement to the Body of Christ. Since ‘99, he has broadcast over 600 inspirational articles and a dozen booklets on subjects sure to interest the thinking Christian and accelerate the process of spiritual development.
He is the founder of t. e. a. m. ministries. An Author, Pastoral Counselor and Teacher, his eMail broadcasts, known as “Your Town for Jesus" are read around the globe. Subscribe at firstname.lastname@example.org
A licensed/ordained minister, a Certified Workplace Chaplain, and a Professional Member of NIBIC, he has ministered in Methodist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, College and Cowboy churches. He is the Workplace Chaplain for a Texas firm, overseeing the Spiritual Development of over 500 employees at ten facilities throughout the state. He is a strong advocate for the House Church Movement, readily available to assist Christians feeling that same inclination. A Speaker on the Christian Speaker Network, he may be available to speak to your church or Christian group.