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Monday, December 19, 2011

Jesus Was Born! Now what About The Presents?

Something crazy happened this year. Usually I pull my kazillion boxes of Christmas Goo out from our shed, and have the Christmas holiday explode upon our lawn, and in our home. No room goes untouched. To add to the drama, I am at Lowes on Black Friday grabbing free evergreen from their discard pile where they cut the real trees. I use it to decorate and bring that can't miss fresh smell of holiday cheer to the home. One of my favorite holiday traditions is putting out my village. Each year I try to get a new piece (big or small). I love looking at the wonder in my youngest child's eyes as he goes house by house and figure by figure making up stories and loving that small town. None of that was meant to be.

I just didn't feel like getting it all out this 2011. Oh we are still festive! We have our tree, stockings, a few select decorations, many poinsettias, and a big red tablecloth that screams "Merry Christmas". I am just in a "decor light" kind of mood. I took a pole, and several of my friends are sort of the same way. Maybe it is a San Marcos thing? So, light decorating CHECK! Now, what to do about gifts?

Gifts are a funny thing. One lady told me a few years back that she only gives her children three gifts because that is what the wise men brought Jesus. I thought that was a good idea. Then she went onto say, "... and that is why my little 'Billy' is only getting a Wii, a kayak, and some other hundreds of dollar gift (I can't remember)." I was thinking seven of my presents would barely equal one of yours! So that was out of the question.

Another friend had a great idea. She heard it on k-love this year. Give them something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I love it! It has become my knew chant! Well, I am sort of following that.

Money is super tight this year, and you know what? It wasn't because we didn't prepare. We are just in a tough time. It is just what we are walking through as our lives are in a transition of sorts. What do you think about the following quote?

"Do you relate poverty with evil and prosperity with good?... This false money belief can be very tempting because of the emphasis society places on the marriage of success and money. It is a rare person who does not immediately define success by using the word money. "
From:The Financially Confident Woman by Mary Hunt (pages 47 and 48)

Mary Hunt (the author of the above quote) is very smart with money, that is after she had been very dumb.
She has a lot of wise words. Mainly that money is a tool. It is not to be served, or sought for at any cost. You should be wise with money. Don't hate or love it. Don't build your self esteem on it. Take steps to be responsible with it. You are not to judge people by what they do or don't have. Instead see what they do with what they have. Even the widow got props for her two small coins.

Randy and  I are blessed with many things. Our family, friends, church,education, opportunities, community, and the list goes on and on and on... yet, we are in a tough time. God says to "consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds." So here it goes...
- thank you that we have a marriage that puts you in charge oh God

- thank you for four smart beautiful/cool NOT GREEDY children who are thankful for what they are given

- thank you that after Christmas I won't regret what we spent because spending in our budget, and tithing are non-negotiable items that help us sleep better at night

-thank you because I won't lie... I did worry... and what did you do LORD?!!! YOU PROVIDED. In the form of financial gifts from dear old friends who "just felt led"... you lead and care for your children Lord. I am and will always be amazed by what you do and how you lead others (including me)

- and I am thankful that baby Jesus was born...

Please don't get all theological on me. My husband would remind me that probably the birth of Jesus was more in the October range and that we celebrate the incarnation of Christ coming to earth as a man and not an actual birthday in December. Next he'll be telling me that the wise men showed up later! :)

Bottom line, Jesus was born and we get to celebrate that! Perhaps you think that is the best gift of Christmas? I gently disagree. The best gift is that baby grew up and died for my sins. I asked him to be The Lord and Savior of my life. God guides my steps. He led me to my husband, to this town, to ministry, to have and raise each precious child. He forgives, he challenges, and he provides. SALVATION... Best Gift EVER!


Luke 2: 1-20

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