Christmas tree lots and stores open weeks prior to Thanksgiving. Then we get Black Friday, and then Cyber Monday. In the midst of it all, people get pushed and trampled for chasing deals. Then there’s the balloon yard decorations that get bigger every year. And the aisles and aisles of ornaments and decorations. But what is it all for? The celebration of Christmas?
For Christians, hopefully, the celebration of Christmas is focused on Christ — the Savior of the world who came to us in the humble beginnings of a manger filled with hay. Who grew as a boy in wisdom of both his parents and his Heavenly Father’s teachings. The Savior, who as a man, chose to bare our sins past, present and future and endure the excruciating beatings and humiliating death upon the cross.
It is so easy to get swept up into the holiday clamor, the spending, the buying, and all of the deals. But do you ever find yourself running out of ideas, running out of things to buy and give? I know that I have. In fact, for the last few years I have been finding myself losing my Christmas spirit as I walk into all the stores.
Where I have found my renewed spirit of the season is in my home, my creativity and time spent with family. And it is this that I offer to you as my first gift this season: a homemade, Christ-filled Christmas.
Now you may be thinking, “Sure that’s okay for women, but what’s a guy to do?” Don’t worry, I’ve got everyone covered! Take a look at this list of ideas and see how you could change your shop-aholic season into a heart-aholic season of giving:
- Return to handmade gifts! If you have a talent such as crochet, painting, drawing, woodworking or other crafty ideas, make a personalized gift for everyone on your list. Best of all, make a family night of it and spread the goodwill of doing for others, with each other.
- Bake it up! Do you have a special holiday recipe that everyone loves? A favorite cookie or cake? Bake a special dish or dessert for those on your list. Who wouldn’t love a night with a homemade dinner on the table that someone else took the time to prepare? Think what that might mean to a hard-working single mom or dad in your family.
- Family photos! Make a special collage for your parents, grandparents or new parents with pictures from the past and recent present! Memories are a wonderful gift to give. They are also great for college students who are away from home for the holidays.
- Travel! Make it a special trip to see someone you haven’t seen in years! No wrapping required! What a wonderful sentiment that you would give up your local celebration to spend it with someone else in their hometown or state.
- Charity! If you absolutely have money to spend and feel led to make those purchases, why not make donations to each person’s favorite charitable cause this holiday in their name? Just think: You’ll be saving them a Saturday spent having a garage sale with all the needless junk they didn’t need!
Above all, the old adage holds true: It’s the thought that counts. How much thought will you be putting into your gifts this Christmas? I know I’m glad that my Savior, my Lord, gave so much consideration to my ultimate gift that it is indescribable. When was the last time you received a gift that was indescribable? Jesus did that for us, by choice and obedience. What an amazing thought.
Lastly, take a moment to pull up this song on iTunes or YouTube this Christmas and consider the lyrics:
How Many Kings
Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected,
A child in a manager?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for?
How many kings stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart?
And how many fathers gave up their son for me?
Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we’ve waited for?