Ten days into December and I have yet to buy a single Christmas present. I’ve spent the last month wrestling with ideas about “wants” vs. “needs”. I’ve gone from thinking we’d have a “light Christmas” as far as gifts are concerned, to considering not buying a thing. We have so much, while many in this world have so little…. Our needs are met. The grandparents provide plenty of presents for my girls. I thought I had come to a place of peace about it all.
That is, until yesterday. You see, I had to go to the Evil Empire (aka WalMart) to buy a baby gift for a friend’s shower. I’ve only stepped in WalMart about 5 times in the last 8 years. I managed to get in, grab a gift and dash out in the span of 15 minutes. I didn’t realize until later in the evening that “the bug” had gotten me. My husband seemed to notice that I was a bit off. I was distant, lost in thought and a bit snippy. He kept asking me what was wrong and after some digging I realized what was troubling me. In the 15 minutes that I walked amongst the frenzied shoppers and carts full of gifts, my peaceful feelings about not buying presents were shaken up. Inside, I was feeling as if I was actually kind of Scroogey. I was feeling conflicted.
It took a lot of prayer and silence to get back to a feeling of peace. What came to me is this: It isn’t about the gifts we give or receive, but about The Gift we were all given when Christ was born. The focus should be Jesus.
After talking it over, we have decided to spend very little on our three girls. We're considering buying just a few board games that we can enjoy on Family Game Night.
Then, as a family, we will reflect on the teachings of Jesus. He spoke time and time again about giving to the poor.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40)
As a family, I would like to give a gift to Jesus by buying a Gift of Compassion. My favorite organization, Compassion International, has this amazing gift catalog that allows us to provide a gift that will truly make a difference in the life of those in poverty.
The Gifts of Compassion catalog has all sorts of great options, from mosquito nets to farm equipment and water purification. Please check out the link to learn more and consider purchasing a gift that can make a REAL difference.
I have come back to a place of peace about this Christmas season. I am going to be mindful of the “reason for the season” and remember that we’ve already been given the most Perfect Gift.