Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Less is More

Every year I welcome and dread the Christmas season. I welcome it because of what it means and the joy that it brings to my family. I dread it because of the logistics involved in the shopping and decorating to get ready for what seems to often be an all too brief celebration.

Most years we've tried to provide an abundance of gifts for our girls. When they were younger, it seemed like the more presents they had the happier they would be on Christmas morning. But this year is going to be different. This is partly due to money (being broke tends to put a crimp in your Christmas spending) but more importantly because we wanted to de-emphasize the focus on material things. As my wife and I talked about ideas and discussed our plans for gifts for the girls we decided to be intentional about doing less for them (and for each other) while focusing on getting things for them that they wanted the most. In doing so, our hope is that they will enjoy and treasure what they receive more since what they get should be more special to them and much more desirable.

Perhaps it is because I grew up as a kid who was always showered with gifts at Christmas both by my parents and grandparents that I feel this way. I couldn't tell you right now of one special Christmas gift I received as a child. I don't have a particular favorite (although one or two memorable gifts do come to mind because they were unusual) in the way that most people can probably identify a special gift.

Hopefully my daughters will understand that their mother and I have made sacrifices this year to provide them with something special. My hope is that they will also see that Christmas has less to do with the material gifts that we receive but the special gift that God gave us in His Son. It's my hope that your Christmas will be special this year, too.

Editor's note: As a child, I was blessed with an abundance of wonderful Christmas memories. My mother, especially, took great pains to ensure that Christmas was the most festive and joyful time of the year. This post should in no way reflect unfavorably on those special childhood Christmases. My hope is that while our family Christmases are less abundant in gifts that the joy may be equal.

As my mother always reminded me, above all, Christmas is about the hope of Christ and sharing the season with the ones we love.

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