Christmas, a holiday that began as a Christian take on pagan celebrations, has since turned into one of the most financially stressful and commercial holidays of the year. As you find yourself frantically trying to come up with the funds to purchase gifts for your loved ones, and to find the time to put together a memorable meal and festivities, you may find yourself wondering, Is it worth it? Is this what Christmas is all about?
Though the Bible does not explicitly address how you should spend your resources during the holiday season, it does have a lot to say about how you spend your time and money. If you want to make this season all about honoring God, keep these following tips in mind.
1. Include Christ on Your Gift List
Though you cannot literally give gifts to Christ, you can donate to charities he would support. Research local charities that support children and families in need, spend a few Saturdays down at the homeless shelter serving food or help an elderly neighbor make repairs around the home. In doing so, you would be honoring Matthew 25:40, which states, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
2. Create a Budget
Though Proverbs 21:5 says that “planning leads to abundance,” it also warns that “hasty” buying decisions lead to destitution. Before heading to the mall or logging into your online shopping account, have a firm budget in mind. Shopping with a budget helps protect against debt, which the Bible adamantly warns against. If you must, hide your credit cards and do whatever is necessary to keep your Christmas spending from haunting you into 2020.
3. Understand Your Motivation
Matthew 6:1, ESV, warns that giving for the wrong reasons results in no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Before buying a gift for your neighbor, donating to the local homeless shelter or preparing a feast for your church, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Do you genuinely feel like giving out of the goodness of your heart, or does your desire stem from pride, motivation or the desire to keep up with the Joneses? If your motives are less than pure, seek God’s guidance on ways to give that honor Him.
4. Put Things Into Perspective
As you review your children’s or grandchildren’s Christmas lists, you may feel overwhelmed as to how you will be able to afford it all without going into the red. In addition to the gifts, you must budget for all the other trappings of Christmastime, including the tree, a massive feast, lights and decorations. If you find yourself stressing out over affordability, it may be time for a bit of perspective.
Though America is the land of excess, there are still hundreds of thousands of families in this country alone that cannot afford to put the next meal on the table, much less toys under the tree. If you’re worried that your children won’t have enough, consider the fact that there are millions of kids out there who will not receive anything. Be happy with what you can do, and in the process, you may teach your loved ones about the power of grace and gratitude.
5. Make the Holidays About Family
Finally, and most importantly, spend time with those you love this holiday season. Honor Christ together by attending church. Read the Christmas story in Luke 1:5-56 through 2:1-20 out loud to your children and set up a nativity scene in your home. If you don’t have one, make one as a family.
If Christmastime has you feeling more frazzled than cheerful, it may be time to go back to the basics and remember why we celebrate in the first place. If you need some inspiration, use these five tips to get started.