What makes Christmas, Christmas to me???...
The Elvis Christmas CD on the ipod, gorging my face with fudge and sugar cookies with my husband as we watch the best Christmas movie ever: "Love Actually"
Or the scent of pine candles filling the house, waking up Christmas morning and cuddling, going to my father in law's house for his amazing prime rib Christmas Eve, and of course, realizing that God came down to experience life as we experience it in human form. Pretty awesome stuff dude. If I didn't have those things, it wouldn't feel like Christmas!
This year, I'm pretty hell-bent on not buying gifts though...not because I'm a Scrooge, but because our goal is to save up the money that I would make in 3 months so that when I take time off to be with our Lil dude, it won't hurt us financially to not be working. Last night while doing dishes I was telling Dustin that, although new shoes, or a new coffee maker, would be nice, staying home with my son (for more than 6 weeks) seems much nicer. I just have NO desire this year to buy. I can't think of anything in the world that I need to wake up at 4 am on black Friday and stand in line to "consume". Plus, I think God has been doing a work in my heart about our finances too. Like, this last semester of Dustin going to school, he's only been working 24 hours a week at his job, and taking 18 credits, (because he's a mad man! Another fun fact- the last break he had was this time last year for X-mas break. So in the last year, he hasn't had a week off pretty much, with a full year of school, plus summer school--- and so on and so on....blah blah blah....I hate school and I'll be so happy when it's over and my husband can have a social life! Poor Guy! Dustin, I'm sooo proud of you honey! Don't give up- You're the hottest Engineer I know! Only 2 more semesters!!! Woot woot!!!) So we've had to get really creative and buckle down on how we manage our money. Going on dates was not an option, buying new this or new that, or anything for that matter that wasn't necessary wasn't in the cards, which has taught us both a lot of discipline. Plus, it seems like the things I really NEED, God provides for us anyways, Like, MATERNITY JEANS that I can't afford but NEED! (Thanks Sarah, you're the best!)
Plus, I see so many other people in such grave circumstances and it makes me feel fortunate to have a home, a family, food, a job, & a loving God who is faithful to take care of our needs.
A few weeks ago, we were watching hottie Anderson "silver fox" Cooper tell a story of a Pakistani girl who provides for her family because her parents are ill. She walks the streets begging for bread and brings it home to her younger siblings and parents. The kicker to the story was when i read the translated words on the bottom of the screen which said "I just cry out to God and ask him to take me out of this poverty!" (lump in my throat!) Who am I to complain about being
"in need"? That girl humbled me like you wouldn't believe.
Or the retired elderly man from Catholic charities who fills his pick-up truck with turkeys and delivers them to low income housing communities to bless the less fortunate. One girl hugged the elderly man and said "This is the first year I've have a Thanksgiving dinner." Can you imagine? I've NEVER gone a single year of my life without someone lovingly cooking me a whole meal and putting it infront of me.
I guess I write this because the meaning of Christmas, the meaning of Thanksgiving, it's all changed for me. I'm thinking more now of everlasting gifts. Things that mean something, not just buying a 20$ gift card for each person in the family so you can check off your Christmas list and feel good about making sure everyone is happy....It's just so cheap. It's so boring. It means nothing. Maxing out the credit card to buy super awesome new stuff isn't that awesome and it really irritates me that people do it, and I've done it all in the name of Christmas. (If I don't receive a single gift this year, I'll be completely satisfied.) I hope my hand made creations/ home made gifts from the heart & delicious baked treats are enough for my friends and family this year, cuz sorry Bro's, I'm a little broke-r than I was last year. But if I had more $$$, I wouldn't get you stuff-just to get you stuff....I don't think it should be that way!
DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THE DEADLY STAMPEDES AT WALMART EITHER! Really?? Are we killing people over crap from Walmart now?? Really? It's that important to take someone's life? It makes me sick!
Living within your means financially is a hard thing to do. It's easy to run up credit cards...It's hard to not want things, (and no one likes left overs 5 days a week), but it's satisfying and rewarding and I believe living this way will have greater rewards in the long run.
What does Christmas mean to you?