It’s hard sometimes to stop long enough to think hard about who you really are. We are all wrapped up in this culture. And because we are in it we let everything around us dictate our behavior. We wind up being so swept up in the world that we do everything just like everyone else. I think the holidays are the ultimate example of this reality.
Take this into consideration: On Valentine’s Day, we go to the restaurant. On July the 4th we go to the lake. On Thanksgiving, we go to grandma’s house. And the day after Thanksgiving for about a month we go to the store.
I want to plead with you to be less materialistic this Christmas. Don’t spend thousands of dollars buying Christmas gifts out of obligation. Don’t give your kids everything they want on their list. Don’t make unwise financial decisions that are going to affect your budget for months into the New Year.
Sit down with your family and make the decision not to make this final month of the year about “things.” Make it about relationships. Make it about spending time together. Make it about thanking God for the blessings of the year. Make it about doing something with those blessings to help others.
Here are a few suggestions about what to do with your money in December:
1. Make sure you are giving to the Lord of your first fruits. Don’t let your weekly giving decline so you can buy stuff at Christmas! Our giving to God should be planned and consistent according to our prosperity. If you increase your giving this month, don’t let it be for the tax break. Do it because you are thankful and because you love the Lord. 1 Corinthians 16:2 still counts in December.
2. Don’t spend more money in December than you did all of the other months. We justify overspending because of the holidays. I am confident that nearly 100% will spend more this month than any other month. Some get end-of-the-year bonuses and perhaps this makes spending more a little easier. But have some self-control. Stay on budget. Don’t get pulled into all the propaganda of the marketplace.
3. Do less for your blessed family and more to help those who are hurting. If you are going to buy Christmas gifts for your children, you can teach them a great lesson by buying for those who don’t have much. Right now is the time to let your family know that you are going to share your blessings with others instead of taking hours and hours to open up presents on Christmas morning.
4. Give presents that are not so expensive. We have all heard the expression, “It’s the thought that counts.” How true! It’s not the size of the gift or the amount of money that you spend that matters. The case in point for us has been our middle child. For years as soon as he gets that one thing (often inexpensive) that he wants, he is ready to go into the other room and enjoy it for hours. He often doesn’t even care about opening the rest of the gifts! You don’t have to break your pocketbook to show others you love them. The greatest gifts are often made by hand and come from the heart, not the store.
My prayer for you is that you can rest and enjoy this holiday season. Make it about spiritual things rather than physical things. Love more. Bless others. Give thanks and honor to the Creator and Sustainer of every good and perfect gift!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” – James 1:17
AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum