“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa
Christmas always brings me great joy. I spend time and money purchasing and making gifts special for each person on my list. I love to give and nothing makes me happier than to watch someone open a present. In fact, I would much rather give a gift than receive one. I wasn’t always this way. I was a spoiled, bratty child (which my sister can attest to) that just thought about herself. As I grew up I learned more and more about the true gift of giving and found great joy in it.
Fast forward to today. I have two amazing, beautiful little girls. We have been struggling financially this year due to medical expenses and God has taught me how to truly accept gifts. Ever since I outgrew the spoiled little bratty stage I have enjoyed giving and had a hard time accepting gifts. This year that has changed because we have been blessed with so many “angels” who have helped us get by. Friends who have gave us groceries, gift certificates, watched our kids, paid for us to go to the fair, helped cover our medical expenses, and so much more. I have been overjoyed and blessed by the way God has provided for us and for the blessings of each and every one of our “angels.”
This year for Christmas I am saddened as I watch the Facebook statuses of my friends out buying more stuff on Black Friday and pretty much every day since. I wonder how many of them are paying cash and how many are going into debt. I wonder how many of them are buying loads of stuff that will just get sent to Goodwill in a few months. Don’t get me wrong, I once was one of those Black Friday shoppers and I always love a bargain, but this year I am thinking differently. Is the spirit of Christmas really all about giving our children everything they want or would the best gift we could give our children is teaching them to love others and give unconditionally?
We had to be frugal this year on Christmas due to finances (less than $20 each on our two children) and I am really glad because my whole perception of Christmas has changed. Even though we are poor my children are blessed with many wonderful toys and games. They don’t need any more, in fact, we could probably get rid of some of the things they do have. I read this blog the other day and it really inspired me to start making some changes in preparation for next year. Please take a moment and read it. I hope it blesses you as it blessed me.
I have already started thinking about what our new Christmas traditions will be. We are financially very tight so spending hundreds on Christmas is not something we plan to do. However, focusing on the giving aspect is going to be made priority. So my new Christmas plans are as follows:
1. Buy or make each of our children a special gift to encourage their spiritual growth. It could be a Bible, a devotional, or maybe I’ll make some pocket memory verse cards for them. No matter what it is, it will be special.
2. Go through the World Vision and let the kids pick what items they want to “purchase” so they can experience the great joy in giving.
3. Make special homemade gifts like chapstick and cookies to spread the joy and love of Christmas to our friends and family.
4. This is the part I am most excited about. In early November we are going to send a letter out to our friends and family letting them know we are going to be collecting donations of money, food, and clothing to take to our local homeless shelter for Christmas. We’ll set aside a few dates to do pick-ups and then we’ll take it in to donate. I feel this is a good way that we can provide for some of the needs in our community.
5. We are going to take every opportunity that God gives us to give to those in need. We may invite people over for dinner, we may bring food to people, we may babysit for people who can’t afford a sitter so they can have a date night. The possibilities are endless.
I want to instill in my children that Christmas is not about getting presents, but it is about giving. There are people starving and suffering all over the world. Let’s do what we can to help them.
”I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian.” Katie Davis