I read the other day that Americans will spend some $465billion on Christmas gifts this year. The article in Forbes says that the average American will spend $700 each. If that were true in the Allen house, it would equate to $5,600. STOP! No, that is not what we will spend, and yet, I know plenty of families that will – Good for them. If you can afford that then you should enjoy that. But whatever you spend, don’t miss the most valuable and expensive Christmas gifts.
- Being fully present with your spouse and family. Put down the tablets, phones and computers and laugh. The other night three of the six girls were home and we laughed so hard and brought up funny experiences from our past and just howled. In my book, Thanksgiving and the Holidays were off to a great start. The Cost: Being fully present.
- Set your fragile ego aside. Allow gratitude and graciousness to take over. This life is filled with me, a bit more me, and then top it off with a heavier dose of me. To fully enjoy the season, it can’t be about you. Giving thanks and celebrating Christmas is about others. If all we have to give is what we want, there won’t be many folks that want you to be wanted. The cost: Joy — Jesus —Others —You.
- Aggressively seek peace in your home. Determine to not allow the thousands of little annoyances to rob you of a joy-filled, peace-filled season. While you can’t control all that others will say or do, you can control how you will respond. When you set your will toward peace, you will find it everywhere you look. The cost: Engaging your will into the will of the Divine.
- Pray over your meals – together. Nobody expects a four-point sermon on the Second Coming of Christ and the meaning of the seven churches of the Book of The Revelation. Make it simple, but make it real. There is no greater posture of gratitude than a bowed head and a bended knee. The cost: Humility before the Divine.
- Go for a walk with the whole clan. You’ll have fun, and you’ll burn off a few of the extra calories you thoroughly enjoyed. Then ask everyone what they saw, what they are grateful for. No repeats! The cost: Weathering the first 5 minutes of your teenager’s whining.
- Read the Christmas Story from Luke’s Gospel before presents are shared. It is His birthday after all. The cost: Dusting off your Bible.
- Remember to thank friends. Not for what they’ve given you, but for sharing their life with you. Real friends are a gift from the Divine. Don’t forget that He has trusted you with this significant responsibility. The cost: Being a better friend.
- Coordinate time to set aside technology and simply “be together.” Maybe watching an old Holiday Movie, or riding together to see the lights on houses. Eat in the car with a Varsity gut-bomb, or play board games together. There are a few things that are always fun…If you loved it as a kid, try it again as a grown-up!
The cost: Remembering how to have fun.
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so sing along with my edited carol:
I’ll be home for Christmas…You can count on me! I’d prefer no snow, but love me some mistletoe, and of course – presents under the tree. Christmas Eve will find me, at Sugar Hill Church so free. I’ll be home for Christmas, and having happy dreams.