It is finally here, the official countdown to Christmas. We are now in the "happiest season of all." But as I prepare for Christmas this year I don't feel 'happy', I feel a drudge and heaviness.
Nothing is really different this year than last, my family is healthy and alive, my husband has a job and we have a warm and cozy house, yet this season I feel a nasty virus coming upon me. No, I am not getting the flu (a Christmas ritual that is prevalent in the Canadian winter), but rather the nastier virus of "keeping up with the Jones'". I'm actually ashamed to confess this as it is something I thought God and I had dealt with long ago.
The reason I am struggling so much with this coveting of my neighbour is the fact that I see what is going on in the world: slavery, refugees, hunger, orphans, terrorism, etc and here I am upset with the fact that my husband won't be buying a lot of Christmas presents for our children.
Yep, I am confessing to you that I am struggling with being really shallow and coveting the fact my friends have more money to spend on Christmas, they will have more and better gifts, more food, more lavish lifestyles, more....... I'm confessing that it is out of a selfish desire I want to bring happiness to my children and not feel they get the short end of the stick when they chat with their friends about what they got for Christmas. As I truly examine my heart I realize it is I that wants the bigger and better Christmas, I want the better presents, I want to look good in mans' eyes.
Can you believe I actually cried about feeling like I'm robbing my kids of something, by not getting them enough stuff? "Enough stuff" are you freaking kidding me!!!! My house is so full of stuff, we have Lego, trains, Barbies, Playmobil, cars, blocks, dinosaurs, jewels, crafts, dolls, balls, trampoline, children's tools, riding play horses, bikes, board games, not to mention the at least 15 different outfits of clothes for each child and 100's of books and dvds etc, etc, etc.
I'm already stressed out because we have so much stuff and I don't know how to keep it all clean and yet now because it is Christmas all of a sudden I have this urge to go and buy more.
I need to realize this coveting isn't of God and is actually sin. When I look at my neighbour to see what they have and make comparisons, I am actually telling God what you have given me is not good enough. This is my real problem; I am not content with what God has given me. I am sinning.
How many times do we do the same, we want what others want? I am not thinking about the glory of God, I am thinking what is best for Genevieve. I really want to give my children a great Christmas and with this attitude sometimes I forget Christmas isn't about the presents. I need to repent and turn back to God.
I need to focus on what Christmas is really about for a believer. It isn't about presents, but rather about the best gift of all; Jesus born in a stable in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago.
Nothing is going to top that, no matter what I fill my house with. If I am not embracing this gift and living for Him it is all pointless and meaningless. Therefore, I need my heart to die to the flesh and to realize that all this stuff is going to end up in the landfills eventually anyway, it isn't something eternal.
Furthermore, I am not robbing my children of love if I buy them only a present or two. I am actually teaching them a valuable lesson that it isn't 'stuff' we are to value, but rather Jesus and our relationships with people.
24 days of giving
This Christmas I'm going to move in the opposite spirit and have the 24 days of giving as we lead up to Christmas day. I am focusing on the heart of Christmas, the heart of giving to those who truly lack. My children and I are going to do activities that show the love of Christ to our neighbours, friends and the poor.
As a family we will select animals that will be given through a non-profit organization to a family in the developing world. We are going to buy coffee for the poor and make baking's and homemade cards and drop them off to the lonely.
James chapter 1 verse 27 says that pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. This Christmas, I am slamming the door on the sin of comparison, envy, greed and pride. I am choosing something of eternal value to give to my children, I will demonstrate to them the love of Christ as we help those in need and I am asking the Lord to help me choose joy and thankfulness as we do this.
Yes on Christmas day there will be a couple presents to open but I will not feel guilty that I could have bought 10 more. I will trust that the time we will spend as a family, going sledding, or skating, or walking through snow covered streets with Christmas lights talking about what Jesus did, will have more impact on them than if I bought them that giant Lego set their friend got.
Genevieve Wilson is a happily married stay at home, home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She worked 8 years as a missionary with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). She has a heart for justice and to see the abolition of the modern day slave trade.
Genevieve Wilson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/genevieve-wilson.html