Saturday, December 5, 2009

Finding The Best Bargains This Christmas

From the editor and publisher of the Courier-Times of Sutherland, Nebraska. Consider it an early Christmas present from her, via the Nebraska Outback blog.

Finding the best bargains this Christmas.

Some years back, an acquaintance of mine was wringing her hands in early December. For some complicated reasons, her December sales bonus check was going to be substantially lower than her expectations. She felt like she’d been seriously cheated and wasn’t going to take this sitting down.

Her frantic phone call to the boss went something like this, “I need that money, so I can have some Christmas, too.”

This, of course, begs the question, just how much money do you need in order to have Christmas? What things or circumstances dictate whether or not you could ‘have’ a Christmas?

A few years ago, I heard a national news anchor say, “Christmas is about family.” It made me ask the question, “What if someone doesn’t have a family? Are they somehow not included?”

In our society, we have a lot of expectations at our holidays and especially at Christmas time: a decorated tree, presents under the tree, special foods, toys, new clothes, music, the latest gadgets and electronics, and more, and more, and more, and more.

When life deprives us of those expected things we either feel depressed or we gain a greater perspective and remember to value the most important things in our lives. For example, if we don’t have a lot of money, we learn to spend time with people instead of spending money on stuff they may not want anyway. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to have a ‘lean’ year to think this way?

I so enjoy finding a good bargain, but what if we discovered that the best bargains in life are not in the things we buy, but in the things we give, including our time to those who are lonely, our compassion on those who are hurting, our forgiveness for those who need it – whether or not they’ve asked, and our courage to stand up for worship of a Creator God who loved and loves us enough to send a Savior.

I really appreciate the merchants who work hard to serve us and help provide for our needs and wants. I’m not recommending that we stop purchasing goods and services. Yet, I think we can cheat ourselves out of the greatest joy if we miss the message.

I’m sure Joseph and Mary would have enjoyed better surroundings to give birth to the honored child, than a barn-type structure with animals and all the things that animals do in barns.

It seems to me that God specializes in taking difficult circumstances and making them into blessings. He takes our weaknesses and turns them into strengths.

Here’s hoping that you’ll find blessings this Christmas no matter what your circumstances.

Here’s hoping that whether or not you decorate your home, your life will be decorated with love, joy, peace and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit.

Here’s hoping that you’ll set apart some time for the most important things, including worship, and your family on earth and your Father in Heaven.

Here’s hoping that whether or not you receive any presents under the tree, you’ll be blessed with a very real Presence in your life and receive the greatest gift of all.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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