We are officially in “the most wonderful time of the year” and to be perfectly honest…it doesn’t feel very wonderful right now. The chipper Christmas music serenading me over the grocery store intercom feels quite inappropriate as my mind is focused on things other than sleigh bells ringaling- ting-ting-tingaling….
The past two weeks have been filled with a lot of hard moments in life: Praying constantly for a college friend’s baby who had a brain tumor and underwent two 10 hour surgeries. Sitting with a dear friend who was utterly heartbroken from a broken relationship and not knowing what to say at times. Learning my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer...again. Feeling completely fearful for my children’s safety after hearing a friend had their car stolen from their driveway with their 3 year old inside (thankfully she is fine but the horror will not fade from their minds any time soon).
The weight of these moments feel like more than I can shoulder and as the world keeps spinning and people pass by me pushing their grocery carts filled with produce and pasta, likely dealing with their own struggles and pain that I will never know about…it makes me think about the things in life that really matter: The Lord. Family. Relationships. People. Meaningful moments.
I love thanksgiving and the shopping weekend that we are wrapping up today as Cyber Monday rounds out Black Friday (errr…Saturday, Sunday, Monday). But it also makes me so very sad and empty too as I see the news stories of people LITERALLY DYING over trying to get their hands on whatever the “it” item happens to be that year. So instead of linking a throw blanket or a life-changing skin care product…I thought it more appropriate given my current mindset to share a few non-gift ideas that will be more meaningful and lasting than anything we can add to our cart.
Go Christmas caroling with your family and specifically visit the widow or elderly couple.
Create homemade Christmas decorations with your children. String popcorn and cranberrries or loop paper chains that they can feel proud to display.
Write a letter or send a text telling those you love how thankful you are for them.
Bake cookies with you kids that you can take to your neighbors.
Find an advent study you can do each night around the dinner table.
Have a dance party to Christmas music in your living room.
Call a family member or friend you haven’t spoken to in a while to let them know you were thinking about them.
Drive around and look at Christmas Lights with your PJ’s on.
Ask the person waiting on you at a restaurant or checking you out at the grocery store how their day is going
Attend Christmas Eve candlelight service with your family.
Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
Pray together as a family and ask the Lord to center your hearts on Him this Christmas season.
There is nothing wrong with buying gifts for those you love and I have certainly already done my fair share of shopping, but I hope my words resonate if you too are feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to buy buy buy. I can’t remember what my parents bought me for Christmas when I was 7 years old but I do remember lifting my candle at the end of Silent Night during the Christmas Eve service we attended every year and the feeling of awe come over me as I watched the church become aglow by the tiny flames all around me.
May this Christmas season be one of lasting memories and filled with the important things.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.