Have you ever pondered the birth of Jesus?
Heaven held it’s breath as Mary labored. They watched with anticipation as she birthed God in a stable, surrounded by mere animals. I imagine the angels sang quietly as not to scare baby Jesus. Their joy was exuberant, yet still.
Have you ever had to contain excitement? Happiness explodes through the eyes while silent laughter bubbles over. Joy busts at the seams, yet the air remains reverent as not to disturb anyone around you.
2000 years after His birth there remains an abundance of excitement in the air around the day we commemorate His birthday—yet it is no longer marked with controlled exhilaration! Frantic Frenzy is a better description of the way we celebrate Christ. What motivates this chaos? Why ARE we excited? Would it be the holiday parties, the gift buying, the sweets galore, the sales, or the long awaited travel plans coming to fruition?
A sure way to check your heart motivation is to watch your checkbook. By all means CELEBRATE BIG!! My family does! Jesus LOVES and DESERVES smashing celebrations. But remember that becoming buried in debt is NOT the best way to celebrate His birthday! He does not expect us to go beyond our means. If pressure to give expensive gifts weighs heavy, it may be peer pressure.
Remember the widow’s mite? While she gave only two cents, she poured out ALL she had without going into debt. Jesus received her gift with great appreciation and acceptance. (Mark 12:41-44)
Be creative during this gift-giving season and rest in the fact that staying within your budget is a treasured gift to the One we celebrate. He owns all the cattle on every hill and knows exactly what each of us has to work with. Good stewardship is a gift in itself to the Giver of all good things.
Consider a few of these almost free ways to celebration this Christmas season:
Do Advent with your family with hot chocolate and a special dessert.
Play games at the table with NO electronics in sight.
Sing Christmas carols around the piano, or with a guitar.
Make popcorn balls as a family, while listening to Christmas music.
Watch a Christmas movie.
Let your kids perform a talent show and video it!
Play hide-and-seek in the house with your kids.
Roast marshmallows in the fire.
Make homemade ornaments.
Have a white elephant ornament exchange.
Read a Christmas book aloud.
Use this month as an opportunity to connect with the ones God has so graciously put under your roof for this brief time, and with your neighbors. There are MANY ways to celebrate BIG without going into debt.
Provide intentional, sweet, memories for your kids as you celebrate and bring community into your neighborhood. Chances are your children will emulate your behavior when they are parents. Be duplicate-able. Remove the pressure from your kids to appear in better financial standing than is true.
Set a good example.
God loves a big celebration; so don’t neglect celebrating if money is tight!
And Celebrate BIG!!