SPEND LESS (Mary Ellen Arndt)
I think that in my family of birth and also when my children were growing up, we did not spend lavishly at Christmas. But as I grow older I am more and more dismayed with the emphasis in the media about Christmas. We are made to feel that we need to give lavishly, and many expensive gifts are displayed.
But as Christians we have to be careful that we are not caught up in this emphasis, but keep in mind the real meaning of Christmas.
Because I have a large family, I cannot buy large gifts for each one, but I do like to give each one a little something. This year I have knitted dishcloths which I will give to each of the ladies. For my sons I give them a piece of my Christmas cake, which I have baked and they really look forward to that. The little ones are easy. The dollar store has many things they like. That leaves the sons-in-law and the older grandsons. For them I purchase gift cards through Solid Ground Ministries. For this, Solid Ground gets a percentage of the money, so I am supporting them at the same time as I am purchasing my gifts.
Then there is the matter of wrapping paper. Some years ago Pastor Reese gave a talk and mentioned how much money is spent for wrapping paper at Christmas. At that time I started to wrap my gifts in advertising from the paper. It is colourful and costs nothing.
So you see, there are always ways to spend less at Christmas.
Challenge (by Devon Wagler)
When you read this passage, it’s easy to see how the people of Israel would have been expecting a conquering king. It’s also easier to understand why the church, at the height of its power, believed that they had the right to rule over the kings of Europe.
Is it possible for the governments of the world to have ‘been on Christ’s shoulders’ as this passage seems to suggest? Jesus was never an official political figure, but he still had an incredible impact on the people around him because of how he acted.
“If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.”