More Christmas time wisdom from Mary today!
Like we discussed last week, right now, if you have little ones, will be the best time to pare down the holiday extravaganza. My favorite point from last week was the idea that going into debt isn't exactly a way to celebrate and honor Jesus' birth! It's always easier to get bigger than smaller. Don't we all know that?
If you figured out that you have no money this year, do what you feel God is allowing you to do and MOVE ON TO PLANNING for NEXT YEAR. Don't get stuck in the same situation. Make your budget and set aside money monthly. Do it as simply as taking out $20 from the ATM and hiding it in the freezer.
Self-control is a fruit of the spirit. I know I need to pray this holiday season to remember 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." So, try to avoid that temptation.
Look for ways you can stay out of the stores/catalogs. Stop catalogs from coming to your house. Just call the number on the back and ask to be taken off your mailing list. To stay out of the stores, you can give presents that don't cost money. Some suggestions today were: the good ole coupon book (great for kids to give to parents/grandparents), spending the day together, a hug, a foot rub, a kiss, or written blessings and Bible verses. I'm thinking that the presentation of these kinds of gifts is key. Kids can their gift like a craft.
One craft idea that I thought was really good was from Lori. Each family member (at least the women) makes an ornament on Thanksgiving each year. Another girl, Cary, is making calendars for the in-laws. And remember, food is always a welcome gift!
For those you want to remember at the holidays, but don't have a budget for, try baking cookies together as a family and having the kids deliver them to the neighbors, mail carrier, teachers, bus drivers, or garbage men.
One of my favorite thoughts today was that this holiday offers the perfect opportunity to teach your children how to THANK OTHERS and the GIFT OF GIVING. The lessons they learn at Christmas time will carry over into the rest of the year. Teaching them the right way to say thank you now will effect how they receive and give gifts the rest of their lives. Birthdays, weddings, showers, etc.
-Open one gift at a time(allowing time for a proper thank you, if the giver is present)
-3 gifts from Santa (keeps Jesus in the picture because He got 3 gifts from the Magi)
-On Christmas Eve have a scavenger hunt to find one present to open (my mother-in-law always wrapped pj's for her boys to wear on Christmas morning)
-Set up a nativity on December 1. Don't put baby Jesus in the manger. Each morning, when you wake the children, ask them if they think that baby Jesus came last night. Do this each morning to build anticipation for the 25th when they will find that he was born. Then, before any Santa activities, go to the kitchen and have a birthday cake and party for Jesus' birthday. (LOVE this idea. I know my kids would remember this tradition-having cake in the morning!)
Mary also shared this scripture to help us remember to seek Truth through the Holy Spirit and prayer:
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13)
Helpful at a time of the year when we can get so distracted by all the worldliness that surrounds us. She used this scripture to remind us to, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
This scripture is also meant to remind us not to pass judgement of what others do, but to seek God in what WE do.
Sorry if this seemed all over the place tonight. My eyes are weary and I've got to go work on our Christmas budget/list.