It happens each year. Stores begin playing Christmas music before Halloween is even over. Trees go up, turkeys move over for reindeer, and we break out our credit cards hoping to make the people in our lives feel loved. But is that the best way to share love? Jesus came to bring us peace ... in every area of our lives ... and that includes our finances! He wants us to rest by living within our means, even if that means changing the way we thing about holiday shopping.
Mercy University teaches a Faith & Finance class. Each and every class we've had included at least one student who was paying insanely high interest rates on title pawns! That one bad decision had hindered their financial freedom for years, bring extreme stress to their families! How can you avoid the Title Pawn or Credti Cards companies this year?
First, it helps to refocus. What is the real meaning of Christmas?
For unto us a child is born; Unto us a Son is given... Isaiah 9:6
At Christmas we're not only celebrating Jesus' birthday. We're celebrating the day God's plan to rescue us, His children, began to unfold and manifest before us here on earth. God loved us so much He sent His only son to the earth to pay the price for our sins, so that we could be reunited with our Father in Heaven when our time on earth was done. So, we celebrate His birthday, His deathday, and our redemption and restoration!
A friend of mine with several children throws Jesus Christ a birthday party and they all give Jesus a gift of their own choosing. They have cake together, light candles, read the Christmas story, and sing carols. Some of the children write letters to Jesus, promising to spend more time with Him that year. One of my favorite gifts her kids ever gave Jesus was an eraser ... so that Jesus would be reminded to erase his mastakes he knew he'd make in the coming year! I thought it was adorable. He was a handful of a boy, and he knew he'd let his impulsiveness ge the better of him, so he went ahead and asked Jesus for forgiveness and help.
There are practical ways to save ourselvese from 2019 debt, as well.
Another friend of mine recommended giving the people in our lives more simple gifts, categorizing them each as SOMETHING YOU WANT, SOMETHING YOU NEED, SOMETHING YOU'LL WEAR, SOMETHING YOU'LL READ. I thought that was such a good idea! If each kid got used to only getting four small gifts each, it would save families so much money. Plus, they'd still feel loved and cared for!
Here are some other cute and thoughtful gifts I found on Pinterest that won't break the bank, and they each come with a cute saying:
Movie Night... "Merry Christmas to all and to all a Movie Night. RedBox Movie Code: 66TR6RGH"
A Roll Of Paper Towels... "This season may the absorbing spirit of Christ blot out your problems, soak up your sorrows, and wipe away your difficulties. May the new year bring you bountiful blessings all the year through!"
A Bag Of Chexmix ... "He's making his list and CHEX-ING it twice. He's gonna find out that you guys are nice!"
I'd be happy to get either one of those gift because they are thoughtful. Just that you thought of me would make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. At the end of the day I just want the people I love to spend some quality time with me. I think you'll find most people are the same.
Christmas is about our Savior, about spending time with the ones we love, laying our worries down at the feet of Jesus, and resting in the assurance of His grace and provision for the year ahead. However, taking part in that peace requires us to make smart choices on our end.
So, this year, let's keep it simple, make the people around us feel loved, and let's NOT go into debt. If you have to go into debt to make the people around you love you, you might want to reevaluate your relationships.
Behold, the Lamb of God, Who [took] away the sin of the world...
We're beholding You, Jesus, and we're so thankful for the freedom You've given us in this life. Help us to make wise choices that lead to peace and away from anxiety. Amen.