This year, two things helped. First, I decided to stick to the four gift rule: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. Can I just say that I LOVE this idea? Our kiddos are old enough that they know what they want, offered suggestions for what they need and knew that my typical gloves and hats and socks would be the something to wear. That left only books to figure out and books are my favorite gift to give. Tada! I am finished. No stress and, more importantly, no potential for disappointment (like that time I got the WRONG Nerf gun for Isaac and he had to act happy).
Gifts are fun to give and receive, but we can put too much emphasis on them. Christmas puts so much pressure on us because it has become such a commercial for all the things we don't have and should want. We do well to remind ourselves that this is actually a time to reflect on God the Father's gift to us - the birth and eventual sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus. I am grateful for chances to remind myself and my family that the world has stolen a beautiful time to reflect upon the coming of our Substitute. Jesus came to redeem and restore us to God. We are grateful for the gift of Jesus, God's only Son, and for the sacrifice that was made on our behalf.
The second thing we did was that we postponed sending out Christmas cards. I feel a little selfish. But, honestly, I am happy to have family time when the kids are home from school. I can write out cards and send notes when everyone is back to school and work. Please don't be disappointed! We will send you a New Years card wishing you a very happy 2015. 2014 was filled with hard things and wonderful things. And now we celebrate a new year that God has blessed us to see. We pray that in 2015 you see more clearly the love that God has for you and that you know Him more deeply.
From Psalm 86
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me...
Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness...