12 Days Until Christmas

Well, until Christmas Eve really, but that’s the beginning of the holiday in my book.

Thought I try to share a Christmas prep. thought each day between now and the big event.

Warning, I tend to have a very Jesus focused view of Christmas, and I’m sure that will come out in my musing.

But I’ll also try to put up some photos to keep you entertained in case I go long.

Our church is using some “Advent Conspiracy” materials this season.  Here is a little sample of what this is all about:

The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it’s all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy

It is pretty cool, and a bit challenging.  Take a look at the site if you want to know more.

After today’s sermon on the gifts of the wise men and the Advent Conspiracy theme of “Spend Less” I found myself assessing and reassessing.

If I compare our approach to Christmas to the approach of others, it probably doesn’t seem like we over spend.  Want proof?

Today in the sermon the statistic was presented that 2/3s of the country participated in Black Friday spending and the average spending that weekend was $350+.  We spent nothing that day, and in fact our entire Christmas budget is $200.  So, we are already on a different path.

But . . .

Is that because we are more spiritual?

Probably not.  Actually, I think it has more to do with the budget. 

I am touched though by the concept presented today:  spend less on gifts so you can give more to a worthy cause.

Giving glorifies God.

Leaves me with the question:  Do we give as much as we could?

Right away I know the answer is no.

I think I want to give more, but I know that to do so will require sacrifices.  Right now we are maxed out and giving more isn’t an option.

There are wonderful ministries I’d love to give to – adoption ministries, clean water ministries, International Justice Mission, Vision Beyond Borders, the school I work for, and on and on and on.  There are also some ways of giving that would be more one-on-one, person to person that I’d like to have the freedom to do.

Do I have the “right” to live the lifestyle I live knowing that in my own community there are people struggling to survive?  Or people who don’t know the Lord and would benefit from a ministry that reaches out to them?  Or women choosing abortion because there are not supportive services to give them other options.  How many people could be helped with money saved by radical  reduction in my lifestyle?

If it really isn’t my money, but God’s why am I spending it on me?

Where is the right balance?

Is balance right?

I’m not talking about giving up a latte a week – I don’t do latte.  I’m talking about the living in a condo instead of a house kind of giving until it hurts. 

Obviously, this isn’t all my decision.  I have a husband who would have to feel the same call on his heart.

And, I’m not sure that selling our house for a condo is really the solution either.  But it is worth considering.  I need to offer it up to the Lord as an option.  I need to give all I have in that way!

Final question then:   Am I willing to sacrifice in order to be able to give?

And just think, this week’s sermon was on spending less.  Imagine how I’m going to feel after next week, which focuses on giving more. 

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One thought on “12 Days Until Christmas

  1. Keshet Shenkar

    This is a really thoughtful and interesting post, Susan Beth. From my perspective, I think it’s a balance–you want to give, but at the same time, putting yourself in poverty in the process (in an extreme case) hurts your own family and charity starts at home. Also, there are so many non-financial ways to give: time, love, kind words, a smile, etc. I love how this really made me think!

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