Depending on what statistics you read on the internet, it looks like the average American family of four will spend anywhere from $750 to $1,000 on Christmas gifts this year.
The season of giving indeed!
Maybe those figures sound a bit on the cheap side to you, and that’s okay.
Or, just maybe, if you’re not quite the “average” American, that amount sounds completely impossible.
So what happens if you can’t afford Christmas?
What if the festivities and glamour of the holidays don’t quite fit into your budget?
My husband and I started out as a young family in a farming community, nestled in the rural heart of west Texas. Life was busy, of course, but pretty simple compared to the fast-paced stride of city life.
Five years ago, the Lord moved us to a Metroplex area… and, boy, did things change!
These days, we have enough shopping opportunities at our finger tips to literally break the bank.
Peers in the city make a lot more money, and spend a lot more money, than our country friends ever did.
When it comes to Christmas, we have glitzy department stores filled with dazzling toys and gadgets, holiday concerts and plays (with pricey tickets), amusement parks offering millions of lights and Dickens-worthy programs, succulent holiday feasts to cater for parties or family gatherings (because everyone is too busy to cook), extravagent homes featuring ceiling-high trees and decked with lights and trendy holiday decor…
And sometimes, I just feel a bit small in the middle of it all.
And my budget, especially, feels small.
When I am tempted to believe I can’t really afford Christmas, I remind myself of a few things.
Such as, the truth that Christmas is about the One who gave Himself, not things.
Even when your budget is limited, it’s still easy to believe that “giving” is all about money and stuff.
That’s especially easy for me to do, since “gifts” is one of my Love Languages. I enjoy expressing love through giving things.
But love isn’t really about showering our loved ones with a lot more stuff. It’s about giving of ourselves, our time, our focus and energy.
And that, my friend, is so much more difficult to do than simply indulging in a Christmas shopping frenzy!
Christ’s love was anything but selfish. Anything but materialistic.
He gave Himself.
Or, how about the truth that Christmas is the ultimate season of humility?
Nothing- nothing- about that first Christmas was glamorous or glitzy.
Christ’s birth was humble.
His earthly parents were simple.
Jesus’ human life was spent in the home of a poor carpenter, in a very small village (Matthew 2:6).
We are not above our Master.
If this Christmas season finds you enjoying material abundance, rejoice. There is nothing wrong in possessing the means to give and receive generously.
But if you are one who feels like Christmas is beyond your means this year, rejoice in the truth that Christ has provided everything you truly need to embrace this season with a full heart (II Peter 1:3).
If you can give a little, then give a little.
Close an eye to the glimmer of the holiday tinsel and focus on the treasure that no one could ever buy for you, you could never afford to acquire on your own, and that nothing in this world can ever take away (Romans 11:33).
In the truest sense, we can always afford the treasure of Christmas.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
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