I absolutely love Thanksgiving and Christmas because we get to spend time with our families, we get some time off, we get to eat a lot of food, and we get to enjoy the yearly festivities such as Christmas music, lights, and of course the red cups at Starbucks filled with peppermint mochas! Not to mention the fact that during Thanksgiving and Christmas we purposely give thanks for God’s many good gifts to us, most importantly the way that he left Heaven to dwell amongst us.
But, Christmas is also about giving gifts. Last year we just didn’t have any extra money and so Jon and I decided not to buy each other anything, nor did we buy anything for Evangeline during her first Christmas.
It. Was. Depressing.
Jon and I didn’t want to relive last year’s experience and so even though our budgets were going to be very minimal, we were determined to get each other a little something, and something for Evangeline. We also have the best parents in the world and the most precious nephews and niece that we want to spoil!
This has been stressing me out because our financial situation isn’t any different.
Credit cards? Likely. Ugh.
Remember my George Bailey post from last December? Well, here I was once again thinking of everything we couldn’t afford, and couldn’t have and therefor felt like we couldn’t celebrate the season. No Christmas tree. No peppermint mochas. No gifts. Bah Humbug!
I am a slow learner, it would appear. I still get down about things like this.
But God’s people don’t. And God doesn’t. God gives. God loves. God’s people lift us up time and time again.
Our church family gave a special offering in September for the missionaries of the church called “Christmas in September”. We’ve recently received an e-mail letting us know how much this will be and I am currently fighting to hold back the tears because of this extreme generosity.
I know it is just money. I swear I know that. But having this gift is going to allow our family to celebrate in ways that we didn’t think possible. Having this gift has taken a burden off of my shoulders.
I am so grateful. And I am so humbled. God seriously does things like this for us all the time! I am embarrassed by my lack of faith.
Unfortunately, there are millions of families who won’t receive a “Christmas in September” check from their church. They have the burden of finding money from ‘somewhere’ to buy a present for their kids. Or put a meal on the table.
So even though I have already mentally spent it all (go out for Jon’s birthday, Christmas gifts for family, take Evangeline to the zoo?!) I am now thinking of others. How can I not? As God has met our needs as receivers, he has in turn made me someone who wants to be a giver.
Cool how God does things like that.
I like our God.
One of the many things I will be celebrating about Emmanuel this holiday season.
If you would like to give a gift to someone who is struggling this year, I would like to suggest Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, or Operation Christmas Child.
It is just money.
They are just gifts.
But the joy of giving and receiving is a part of Christmas that, when you separate it from the materialism and consumerism of our society, is a beautiful thing.
Thank you to our family, and to our church family, for loving us with your generosity, and for helping me to love others in the same way.
I know that it is only November 10th, but Merry Christmas!