Hubby and I sat down Monday evening to get our Advent “plan” down on paper. Is it completely ridiculous that we both choked up and got tearful as we talked through the opportunities to give in meaningful, powerful ways this Christmas?
Giving beyond stuff is powerful and moving because it is the heart of God.
How did God give? He gave His self, His son, His life. And through those gifts, we receive the greatest gift: relationship with Him.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
As we talked out the plan, we knew the “what”. We nailed down what we would purchase, what we wouldn’t, what we would give.
But after some talking, planning, and praying, we stepped back. We needed to nail down the why.
He and I, we know why. We are clear that we don’t have want for anything in the world, that meeting the basic needs of others is our call, our responsibility, and way worth the sacrifice of a new thing or meaningless gift we will forget next year.
But we had to pause to define how we would describe the why to our children;
To very little people, ages 5, 4, and 1.5, who are already bombarded with messages of stuff, toys, things, presents, and more presents, for Christmas.
We don’t want to teach them that presents are evil or wrong. This mom and dad know it can be hard to receive, and our hope is that our children will learn to receive gifts graciously. We don’t shun anyone for giving and I’m sure that our children will receive many lovely gifts from our families.
I like how Advent Conspiracy puts it:
Spending Less isn’t a call to stop giving gifts; it’s a call to stop spending money on gifts we won’t remember in less than a year. America spends around $450 billion dollars during the Christmas season, and much of that goes right onto a credit card. By spending wisely on gifts we free ourselves from the anxiety associated with debt so we can take in the season with a full heart. [AC]
These are the numbers that take my breath away, every time:
I’ve held the reality of that statistic in my arms, and I don’t want my frivolous spending to contribute.
So this year, for our kids, we want them to know that to celebrate Jesus, we want to give like He gave. We don’t need anything. We don’t need more toys or shoes or clothes or stuff. But so many kids around the world, too many, don’t have what they need to survive the day.
So, sweet littles, we choose, as a family, to give our gifts to those that need it.
This conversation has not happened yet. It’s scheduled for tomorrow evening, so I’ll let you know how it goes ;)
We’ve decided to kick off Advent with a family worship night, ushering in the Christmas season the way they may have on that first Christmas night, singing praises to the Newborn King.
Ways to join in our Merry Meaningful Christmas:
– Link up your handmade gifts, projects, & recipes
– Consider giving from the World Help Gifts of Hope catalog
> SHARE IN THE COMMENTS: Is it challenging or exciting for you to think about buying fewer presents this Christmas? If you are simplifying this Christmas, how are you speaking to your kids about it? In what ways are you being intentional this Christmas to give differently and spend less?