There's something about Christmas that makes everyone a little better. A little happier. A little more alert. And yes, a "little" more stressed. But, as Bill Murray so eloquently put it, "It's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, .... we smile a little easier, .... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we'd be!" (Scrooged, 1988)
How was your Christmas? This year, I have to say, was probably the absolute best Christmas we've ever had, and here's why: we cut back. Due to the economy, I wasn't comfortable at ALL spending the kind of money we have in the past. Thanks to nudging from God, I have money automatically drafted out of our bank account into a locked-up Christmas account, so the money for presents was there.
But, but, BUT, first we sustained a lightning strike to the house, which totally killed our main television. Cha ching. Then, older daughter (PWTH) was driving home for Thanksgiving, and her car's flywheel... how can I say it... it FLEW! Cha ching cha ching. Then there's her upcoming wedding (forget the cha chings, just throw money at it!).
SO, right about the time we decided to spend about one half as much on Christmas, the other half went to the car, to the new television, to the wedding dress. But the joy is, we could pay CASH for it all! No indebtedness.
Because we were cutting back, I decided to give each person one "large" present (in dollar amts.), two smaller presents, and one homemade present. These ranged from a tray with a map of London decoupaged in it, to a homemade apron (Who DAT!), to a photo book. Plus, everyone got their stockings from Santa with the assorted tiny gifts and the requisite candy.
Thus, Christmas morning, we were not snowed under opening gift after gift, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. We still took our time, and still were so blessed.
But the all-time, BEST present arrived that morning, at about 6:30 am. Our soon-to-be-married daughter had spent two days earlier that week "doing Christmas" with us, then left the 23rd to spend the big day with her fiance' and his family. He & his family gave her back to us for Christmas! They left their college town Christmas Eve, drove 200 miles, and got here in time to be our presents (presence). Who needs packages under the tree when others are so sacrificial!
Enjoy your season of Joy. Remember the Reason for this season. And have a Happy New Year, y'all!
P. S. I have to share this with you! A church friend, whose name truly is Joy, sent us this Christmas card, and it's so absolutely perfect! It comes from Dayspring, and all their Christmas cards are on serious sale right now. This card is here.
P. P. S. Thanks, Sarah, for prompting us all to find Christmas joy this year - it made a huge difference!