Maybe it’s Grandma’s peanut butter fudge. Maybe it’s looking at Christmas lights on a certain night. Or even opening a gift on Christmas Eve. We all have them. Traditions that give us that warm feeling. It makes Christmas seem like…Christmas. And everyone looks forward to it and it wouldn’t seem like we were really celebrating if that memorable and loved tradition didn’t happen.
And then there are gifts. It can be so fun to give. It can sometimes be overwhelming as well as we think on the perfect item we can give to those who mean the most to us. But to see joy on someone’s face? Well, there’s nothing like it. In fact, we know that gifts can be a way that others feel cared for. Giving is a very central part of the celebration of Christmas.
For our family, every year it seems like we make a decision to buy less for our children. Not necessarily to save money, but because we look around our home and ask, “What do we really need?” The answer for us is not that much. We have more toys than we need. We have more clothes than we need. I’m not saying anything about it being top of the line. Most clothes are hand me downs. But to say we have needs, we truly don’t have many. And I have found freedom lately, not being a slave to our stuff. We have focused more the last few years on giving experiences with family….whether it be an event or restaurant we go to, or time playing indoor mini golf. These type of gifts have created great memories and an opportunity for quality time together.
When I look around my community and watch the news or scroll through social media, I realize there are people less fortunate than my family. There are some who have nothing in terms of a home, food, and the basic necessities. There are others who live in homes much nicer than ours and they seem to have just everything in order. But what I have noticed, is there can be an emptiness in the eyes of those I meet when I am out. It doesn’t matter how much we do or don’t have in terms of ‘stuff’, but my heart has been convicted that we all need Jesus and if we don’t have Him, that is the gift we really need to be focusing on.
While out shopping, I pray, “Lord, open my eyes to someone who needs you. Someone I might be able to help, even in a small way. I want to show love in a smile, a gesture or a helping hand. Keep me aware Lord.” When at home with our families, “Lord help my gentle words convey your love. Help my smile, my serving convey more of who you are to my family.”
Thinking back over the years, I don’t remember many Christmas presents I received. There are certain ones of course, but for the most part, I don’t remember. And I don’t remember what I gave as well. My mind must not have been focused on those things. But I do remember the memories. I do remember the feelings I felt around people I love. I remember conversations around the table. I remember jokes being told and the laughing that follows that makes you feel so good inside. I see in my mind’s eye the people I love sitting together, laughing, opening presents and the wrapping paper being ripped off and thrown to the side. But the presents…I don’t remember them.
Whether a believer or not, each person we come in contact with wants one thing really. To know they are loved. To really know that they are loved. And the best love we can show, the best gift we can give is Christ’s love. I’m not saying not to give and enjoy presents. Not at all. I know our family will be buying gifts. But could we all, we followers of Christ realize that the gifts, the decorations, the food, the traditions don’t make the memories. It’s the way people feel when we are around them. If I can challenge myself to not get caught up in the to do lists before me and ‘making Christmas’ for my family, and focus more on my heart to really love those I come in contact with, I think that’s the best gift of all.
Our world needs Jesus. At home and out and about. Through the hustle and the bustle of the season. That’s what we long for. It’s who we long for. May we as daughters of the Most High God who have received the love of Christ be compelled to go and be a light amidst this busy and stressful season. Let us not fall into temptation that we need to make this time about ‘things’. No one really wants ‘things’. Whether we realize it or not, all we truly want.
All we really need…is Jesus.
Jaimie is a child of God, wife and mother and enjoys encouraging mothers through pregnancy and childbirth. Connect on her Facebook Page: A VBAC Mom and Her Journey