December 16, 2007

Last Christmas and This Christmas

I have written on the blog about how we do Christmas before. We go by the 3 present rule. Jesus was given three gifts, so we give our kids 3 gifts each. This guideline helps me stay focused on the main focus of Christmas. It is not buying a ton of gifts for my kids to open on Christmas morning then having most of those gifts collect dust until we give them away or sell them at a garage sale. It seems like the hype of Christmas, the beautifully decorated stores, the fun Christmas music makes me want to buy, buy, buy. And this rule I have keeps me from going overboard.

I thought about the blessings that God gives us all year long. And then I remembered how I felt last Christmas. I don't remember all the in's and out's of what broke and what needed fixing, but right before Christmas we had several extra expenditures that left us with nothing in our Christmas budget. I remember standing in my mother in law's kitchen and I just burst out into tears because I didn't know how we would buy presents for our kids.

The next week someone from out of state sent us a check to bless our family. They said they had intended to send us a gift when Jack became sick, but the busyness of life got in the way. They just wrote on their note, Merry Christmas - this is a gift from the Lord, all glory and praise to Him. Because of that check we had presents for our kids and Christmas dinner. I am grateful that I remembered that today, because this year we have presents under our tree that we bought, but there are families around us that don't.

When I was growing up our family never really had money to spare. One Christmas my mom told us that Santa wouldn't be able to come that year. I think that I was about 10 years old. I didn't understand why Santa wasn't coming, but I remember how sad my mom was. And I just remembered feeling so panicked about the whole situation. Christmas was very simple with our family of 5 kids, my mom did a lot of shopping at the dollar type stores - she normally had between 50-100 dollars to buy gifts for her 5 children. That Christmas morning we did have presents - someone left a stack of presents on our front porch for us. Looking back I am sure it was someone from our church. Last year I think that the same feeling I had as that little 10 year old who thought that Christmas morning would be without presents came to the surface.

Why bring this to light. I must never forget that my neighbor or someone I walk by at church might be dreading this holiday season because they just can't afford presents along with gas money, food, electricity and everything else that costs money day to day. What can I do? I will pray for God to tap me on the shoulder, whisper in my ear, convict my heart who it is He wants me to help this year. I must never forget that this season is about giving love face to face, and slipping money in a card and putting it in the mail and writing in a card...this is from the Lord, all glory and praise to Him.


Lindi said...

Hi Tammy, I'm here. As always, I appreciate your eloquent words of wisdom. I had some sad and disappointing Christmas mornings as a child and therefore I catch myself wanting to overbuy and sometimes do. Christmas can have so many strong emotions some good and some bad with all the stresses that the holiday's can bring. I will specifically pray for the broken hearted during this season and lookout for those in need. We are all always in need of one thing or another thank you for the sweet reminder. In Christian Love, Lindi

Troy M. Stirman said...

Great post, and great reminder about how greed and materialism so easily creep into our lives - especially during Christmas.

Sarah and I had this very conversation just last week.

Nic and Vanessa said...

Tammy, I love your heart! This blog touched me and I will be sharing it with Nic later. We talk about materialism and living simplistically all the time (as if we have no choice living on one salary!) and so this topic is very near and dear to our hearts. We hope to teach these same values to our kids someday (though some very long day away if we can help it!) because we live in such a society that is full of consumerism-especially around this time of year.

Anonymous said...

That reminds me of Matt 25:34-46. The Lord is always there for us and we do need to remember to be there for his people as well. Thank you for the reminder. I love you.