SPEND LESS (Laura Bacvar)
I believe that giving at Christmas is not wrong, but what we give, why we give, and to whom we give, should be evaluated. I believe that we need to give less of the material gifts and more of Christ’s love and compassion. I think at times it is easier to buy the gift, than it is to be vulnerable and open ourselves up to showing love. I know I often worry how my act of love will be perceived and then I don’t bother.
I remember a situation a few years ago that put things into perspective for me. I had always thought about singing Christmas carols at the hospital, or bringing cookies to a nursing home, or doing something kind for someone in need. Then the busyness of the holiday would interfere with my intentions. One Christmas our family theme for gift giving was not to purchase individual gifts, but to only buy one gift that the whole family could benefit from. We were trying to teach the children about thinking not just of themselves, but the whole family unit. Christmas morning arrived and everyone received one family gift to open. There was a package of board games, sled, karaoke machine, and then there was one gift left. Vanessa’s gift was the last to be opened. As I opened her gift to the family, tears streamed down my face. She had compiled a care basket with stuffed animals and games, but attached to the basket was a note that said “I would like to bring this basket to the children in the hospital, as a family.” We loaded up in the car and took the basket to the hospital. The nurses were very kind and told Vanessa that it was thoughtful. Even our older boys were affected. On the way home, it was quiet. Later the kids shared how grateful they were to be healthy and at home during Christmas. I remember that night, thinking how a little child could remind me what Christmas is about. Giving more of our love. Just like another Child, long ago, reminded us about God’s love for us.
Challenge (by Devon Wagler)
Never before was it ever considered that hills would be moved, or valleys filled in to make travels easier for any individual. This passage calls for preparation on a scale unheard of for the one who’s coming.
When you prepare for Christmas, how much of what you do could be considered preparing for Jesus? If you really were preparing to celebrate his coming, his birthday, or his arrival, what would you do, think, or say differently?
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”