Thursday, December 18, 2008


The CHRISTmas rush is on!!!!!!!! CHRISTmas is only 1 week away! I am still trying to finish up my shopping.

Yet I know that there are many this CHRISTmas who may not have much to put under their tree. There are parents worrying about how they will give their children anything this year. Many families have lost jobs. Many are struggling to just hold on to their homes. Others are struggling to put food on the table. Stockings may be empty this year.

We live in such an affluent society that it has become the "norm" to have lots of gaily wrapped packages beneath our tree. We want the latest and the greatest in electronics, technology, and fashion. We feel we are shortchanging our family members if we don't fulfill their every wish.

I think back to old movies I've seen of how things used to be in the "good old days". Parents would make their gifts for their children. And getting one special gift was HUGE!! They were wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string, yet eyes were bright with excitement as the children joyously opened the package to find a rag doll or a toy carved from wood. Stockings might have a little penny candy from the general store or if really lucky, a piece of fruit.

Maybe we need to go back to those days. Not really................but, there is nothing wrong with making gifts to put under your tree. And there is no written rule that says there has to be more than one.

I can remember back to the early days of our marriage, our country was in a recession at that time also (although I do not remember it being as bad as it is now!). Money was very tight. I was a stay-at-home mom and my husband had a job, but it did not pay a whole lot. It provided what we NEEDED, but not a lot extra.

One CHRISTmas stands out in my mind because that year I made most of our CHRISTmas gifts. We drew names in our extended family, and I made almost all of those gifts. I remember doing macrame' because that was a big deal back then. I made purses, I made a thing for our nephew that hung on the door and held his bat, his glove and his baseball. I made a lot of baked goods and shared with neighbors and other extended family. It was a great CHRISTmas!!

I was not ashamed that was all we could do. It was the best we could do and there was a lot of love that went into making all of those things. I don't remember if it was that year or another one, but I also made my husband curtains for his shop. Now I know you are thinking "Curtains for a man's shop? Just what every guy dreams of !!" But these were very rustic, had deer on them and helped to make his tiny shop (which was really just a shed) a little warmer. I went to the fabric store, having just the right fabric in mind. I searched and searched, but only found fabric with ducks, horses and dogs! I stopped searching momentarily and breathed a prayer, "Lord, I HAVE to have fabric with deer on it. None of these will do. PLEASE help me to find what I am looking for...AND at a reasonable price". I started down the row of fabrics again. There tucked between two other larger bolts was this small bolt of fabric with deer on it. And that's not was 1/2 price!! I was thrilled beyond words. I knew that God had answered my prayer and provided just what I needed to complete this special gift for the one I loved.

Gifts do not have to be huge, costly or ornate. The most important characteristic of a gift should be the thought that is behind it. If it is given with love from the heart with the intention of blessing the one to whom it is given, it does not matter if it only costs $1.00, it will be the best gift under the tree.

This year if you are struggling with what to give someone, or if your CHRISTmas account is all but non-existent, I urge you to think about what you can give that does not cost much or better yet, that costs nothing monetarily at all. Here are just a few suggestions:

Homemade few people actually bake anymore, it is a real treat!

A good book....there are a lot of book stores that carry used books and you can get a good used book that looks like brand new for very little money. Goodwill stores are a great place to look!

If you have a skill that could bless someone, give them a gift "coupon" for something that would be helpful to them or bless them....i.e. if you are an organizer, offer to organize their kitchen or files, etc. ; if you are good at doing nails, offer to give them a manicure a month for a year; if they have small children, offer to babysit one night a month for a year; if you like to shop and they are unable to get around well, offer to be their personal shopper; if they are elderly and cannot drive, offer to be their personal "chauffer" once a month.

There are a few other gifts that we can ALL give and we don't have to wait for CHRISTmas to give them:

A smile

A kind word

A hug

A listening ear

A card to cheer someone who is going through a rough time

An email prayer

The words "I'm sorry"

Grace............overlooking the things people do that irritate us or perturb us or hurt us, recognizing that we, too, need others to lavish grace on us when we do those things



A helping hand

And, of course the BEST gift you could give anyone, would be to share CHRIST with them for He truly is the gift for all seasons.

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