Monday, December 1, 2008

A Time for Reflection

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am,therewith to be content
(Philippians 4:11).

That is my theme for the month of December. Have you noticed that the retail business begins to put out Christmas items just about the time Thanksgiving seems to begin lurking in our minds? It is as if "someone" out there is trying to get us to forget to be thankful. To stop focusing on what we have at the present to enjoy and begin to look forward only to what we can "get."

I must admit, that often I am discontented. Sometimes discontentment is a good thing, such as when we are discontent with our walk with God. However, usually discontentment is not desirable. At this time of the year, it is so easy to get caught up in the "Christmas spirit." I love decorating the Christmas tree and setting up my little Christmas village, complete with two churches and a hot chocolate salesman! :) More than that, I love setting up the nativity set. We have had several over the years. Last year we found a very beautiful, large nativity set at Sam's Club for a very reasonable price. Our favorite nativity, though, is the one my husband bought me the first year we were married. It has had so much wear and tear over the years from the children playing with it that it doesn't really work anymore. On this particular nativity, the shepherds and wise men together with their camels "walk" around a circle and turn in to look at the baby Jesus while playing Christmas carols. We just love this one. We also have a manger that Chad built several years ago that we set up with a baby Jesus inside.

There have been years when I have felt "pressured" to provide many gifts for my children. I cannot say why I felt that way, but I did. We wasted so much money. As we have had more children, of course we have had to scale back on the number of gifts the children receive. This year, we decided to give a gift to the entire family. We are going on a trip to Tennessee, a family vacation of sorts. We are all so excited about it. After all, next to the birth of Jesus--which is the only true meaning of Christmas, holidays, to me, are about spending time together as a family. We play more games during the month of December. We bake more cookies. We make more crafts. We play outside in the snow more. We just love on one another.

Unfortunately, I often become selfish and want my own way and forget about the true meaning of Christmas--giving. After all, wasn't Jesus born to give us something? Eternal life. Aren't we supposed to be giving to others? Meeting their needs, telling them of the eternal life Jesus came to give. Giving. It's not about me. It's not even about my family. Giving. Being content enough to give what I do have away. Even in a recession. Giving. Contentment. Christ. Christmas.

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