When I was a kid we were showered with gifts. Showered with a capital S. There were always so many under the tree on Christmas Eve that we would go to sleep ridiculously excited and then somehow we’d wake up Christmas morning to even more! I’ll be honest and say I can’t remember what I got each year but I do remember what the tree looked like and what the living room looked like after we ripped everything open.
I don’t know how our parents did it every single year. I’m sure it took scrimping and saving on other things to pull it off. I’m sure it took giving up a vacation just for the two of them or regular date nights or something. But they did it and I’ll always remember it.
Then of course there are those who have nothing at Christmas. The furthest end of the spectrum from my spoiled self.
And there are those who get one shoebox in an entire lifetime. A lifetime! Next year I’m not filling them with dollar store crap, I assure you that. (Did you know they only get one in a lifetime? I didn’t…)
There are those who whisk away to vacation homes in the woods and have snowy carriage rides behind their horses and stockings hung by a real fire. Like, the kind that you have to actually chop wood to put on.
There are those who make a mad dash out on black friday to scour the very best deals so they can give their child the one thing that they want. Think about that for a second and maybe the fights over cabbage patch dolls make a little more sense. They can only afford one gift and they can only afford that if it’s on a super sale and they want their little girl to beam on Christmas morning. What parent doesn’t? It can get the best of us, for sure.
We’re a bit all over the map when it comes to Christmas around here. There are years when I feel like we’ve done so much through the year that we just need to reign Christmas in a bit. Buy a bit less. Choose one or two things that are very special instead of abundance.
Then there are years where we go downright crazy. My boys will talk of the year that one certain middle child got a scooter, a skateboard and a snowboard for Christmas! (they don’t understand the power of buying used yet!) Another boy got a ticket to the Coldplay concert. Another a new bike.
I find myself feeling a bit more Holy in the simple years. A bit more ‘in tune’ with Christ when we decide we’re not going to get much for the kids and just keep it small. After all, this isn’t what Christmas is all about.
But there’s a huge flaw there. Did you catch it?
I feel more Holy. When we keep it simple.
I think it’s easy to judge others by what they have or don’t. It’s easy to look at a family with much and assume they don’t love Jesus or get the meaning of Christmas quite as much as those who donate a goat to a needy community in their child’s name.
But it’s wrong. So, so wrong.
I am no more Holy when I give big or give little because I’m not the one who is Holy at all! That position is reserved just for one and it sure isn’t me.
Even at Christmas when all I want to do is soak in the advent season, yearn for the Lord’s return, and pray for peace on earth to come, I still get it wrong. I still turn the tables faster than a seasoned DJ. I make it about me. About what I can do. About how we can do more or better or try to get it right.
But in doing so I’ve robbed my dear Saviour of the great glory due his name. I’ve stolen what’s His. Taken from the King.
Christmas is not about giving just a little or keeping it simple or giving a ton and spoiling those you love rotten. Those are all just ways that you choose to live. Not one right and not one wrong.
You can give simply with a right heart or give simply with an evil one and on the flip side you can give much with a right heart or give much with an evil one.
It’s not how you do this thing. It’s not what it looks like in your home or even how much you’ve given away. It’s about your heart and the very position you take before Jesus. Are you looking to earn his favour this Christmas season or are you accepting his free gift of grace? I assure you only one of the above is possible.
So keep it simple or deck your halls. Turn your home into a wonderland or place but a few branches on the table. Give the gift of time or buy your children a thousand things from Toys R Us.
But whatever you do, do it with a heart that is hoping, anticipating, expecting the return of the King. Do it with the joy of knowing that you are His. Do it because you love. And do it well because it’s Christmas! The celebration of a birth. And who doesn’t love a new baby?
Let’s rock this Christmas deal without judgement or evil intent. Let’s rock it because a babe is born and that babe was sent to be our one and only Saviour! Amen?