Christmas shopping this time of year for many can be very stressful. The crowds, the low bank account, the never ending list. But it doesn't have to be. Christmas isn't about spending above your income to get everyone an amazing gift. It shouldn't be about stressing yourself out to fight the crowds and traffic searching for the perfect gift. Life isn't about getting everything you want, when you want it. I didn't always get what I wanted as a child and I am so thankful for that. When I did get something I really wanted, it was monumental for me. It meant so much because I wasn't expecting to get it. My family didn't have a lot of money. So when I received a gift that I had wished for I was ecstatic. I didn't take it for granted.
Sometimes I think my kids are spoiled because they have so much more than I did as a child. We can afford to get them what they want for Christmas this year. Compared to most we aren't spending a lot this year on gifts but we are truly blessed to be able to give our children nice gifts. We aren't getting them the latest expensive technology and our children don't have their own phones, video games or ipads but they have a lot.
Everywhere I go lately everyone seems stressed and hurried. It shouldn't be this way. We shouldn't have to strain and force ourselves to find calm and joy in this season. Where did this pressure come from to do and buy everything at Christmas? Why is it the norm to be worn to a frazzle this time of year? Shouldn't we be buying and making gifts for our friends and loved ones because we want to? Not out of pressure to perform and make everyone happy? Not expecting anything in return? The truth is we don't have to. Just because someone buys us a more expensive present, doesn't mean we have to go out of our way and spend more than we can afford to get them an equal gift. We don't have to attend every event or take part in all the Christmas traditions.
I can imagine that the first Christmas was very stressful. Traveling a long distance while pregnant, being in labor and having nowhere to give birth, and giving birth in a smelly stable(cave) with animals...sounds very stressful indeed!
Who would have imagined that the celebration of our Savior's birth would turn into what it is today?! There are so many things I love about all our Christmas traditions. Lights, giving gifts, making cookies and sweets, Christmas trees, Christmas songs, Gingerbread houses, lots of good food, getting together with family and friends. However our traditions came about, I really enjoy them. As each year passes I have put less pressure on myself to do everything for Christmas. I have thoroughly enjoyed making gifts and sweets, wrapping presents and doing a little(mostly online) shopping. I am thankful to say that all my shopping is done. I do still have to make Christmas dinner but I am hoping to spread the cooking out this week. I haven't been able to get together with all my friends and do everything I would have liked but I am okay with that. I am tempted to think that I didn't get my family and friends enough gifts but I am not giving in to those thoughts.
As you go about the rest of this week, I pray that you stop and think before you put unneeded pressure on yourself, your children, your husband, your bank account. Enjoy being with your family.
Give the gift of being present with your family instead of giving them more presents.
Remember that Jesus gave up everything he had at the Father's right hand to give us his life. He who was God became and man...a helpless babe. Not so we could see who could out do each other in the gift giving department, but so that we might accept his free gift of life and be filled with his joy and peace in the midst of a joy and peace deprived world. All around us people are starving for what we have. They are devoid of love, peace and truth. Instead of joining the masses, let's be set apart and make them wonder why we aren't giving in to the lies and pressures of the world.
Let's enjoy all our traditions this Christmas; not centering our life around them but the one who came to give his life for us all!
Does Christmas stress you out?
Do you enjoy all the traditions?
Do you have all your shopping done, or are you a procrastinator?
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