Monday, December 10, 2012

What is giving all about today?

Gift #1 - Christmas

"I don't mind Christmas.  It's just all the shopping that makes me crazy!"

"Well, we didn't want to worry about celebrating during the crazy time with all the parties and concerts so we are planning on our Christmas party some time in January."

"I don't think we can give extra because we have all the gifts to buy this month."

These are the things I have heard from friends, neighbors, co-workers. 

And don't think our family is immune to the lack of Christmas spirit.  Oh, I thought we were when I heard this:

"I don't want any gifts this year," 

Oh, what a sweet sound to a proud mama's ears, but wait for it...wait for it...

" gifts, just money!"

Of course you do.

I know Christmas is about giving gifts to celebrate the most awesome gift of all, but why do we think it has to be the all encompassing part of Christmas.  Is there another way?

When I was a kid, I got one big gift that was actually usually from Santa (Why my parents let him get the credit for the good ones, I still wonder) and several smaller ones.

We had simple requests because we had less of a chance to compare with others.  Of course I might see the new purse my friend got, but there was no internet to see the hundreds, no thousands of purses I could be asking for.

 We were not lacking, but yet, we never I felt got too much. 

(Of course I didn't...I was a kid and probably still wanted more).

But today, it just feels all wrong.  Something is off with the heart of Christmas. 

When people are complaining of celebrating because of too much time spent on finding gifts, too much money spent on getting gifts, and too much time spent actually spent celebrating Christmas, something is lost.

I want to blame it on technology, but technology just helped me this evening find several facts about Woolly Mammoths for a report for my daughter so I can't shoot the messenger.

I want to blame it on the schedule we keep in order to keep up with sports, dance, church, serving.  But the truth is we all have the same amount of time.  It is just what we do with that time.

So, I need to blame it on myself.  What I have allowed giving to become in my heart.  I have allowed the fleeting happiness of a Wild West Sharp Shooter to replace eternal joy that my children might experience because they have sacrificed for another.

I have not given them enough credit to thoroughly approach the subject of not giving gifts to each other and instead use that money for others in need because really, those are the gifts that we can give to Jesus.  We have mentioned it before, but not really decided to have a paradigm shift in our family.

To give a family in Africa a flock of chicks for $20.00.  To give a child in the apartments your dollhouse.  To give a child his food for a year.

These are the catalogs we need to pour over:

the Compassion Catalog, Samaritan’s Purse Catalog, Partner’s International Catalog, World Vision Catalog

What will they say?

What will you?

My readers, will you pray as we search for what giving instead of getting means in our family?

It will be a tender lesson for us all. 

For the first time I casually brought it up, I heard,

"No presents, that is okay...Santa will just give us stuff." 

Clearly we have not gotten the message of  Biblical giving quite yet...

Stay tuned for the results of our family meeting.

And as I think of this,

I know gifts are not wrong.  God is the giver of perfect gifts.

I will start  counting my gifts of which #1 is our Christmas.

I look forward to naming to even more...


Missy said...

Hi Angie. Loved this post. A book you may like is Toxic Charity. I just read it and loved it and it put helping people out in such a real perspective. Also when my kids were young and we did not really have much money (not that we have that much now) we encouraged the kids to make gifts for each other and us. I can tell you how many crocheted scarfs I have been given over the years :) They made stationary, decoupaged cigar boxes for keepsakes, wrote letters to us with lots of words of love, crocheted pot holders and even today they are still making gifts for each other and family members. I so encourage you on your endeavor to find balance between celebrating Christmas as Christ birth and to still enjoy the gift opening and celebration with family. I look forward to hearing how the family meeting went.

Unknown said...

I should have read this on the 11th, when you wrote it. It would have helped me be proactive instead of being at the end of my Christmas rope with all the goings-on and gifting. I'm looking forward to hearing how your Xmas goes this year. :-)

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