The New York Daily News reports that 45% of people surveyed would like to skip Christmas because of the stress it brings…Here are 7 things these people need to know:
1. Realize that the TV commercials are lying to you. Their job is to brainwash you into thinking you need something you don’t. That if you buy this product (or someone buys it for you), you will be happy, complete, at peace, and satisfied. Why do we often go broke at Christmas (and then stress about being broke)? Because we believe these lies and buy what we think will be our Golden Ticket to bliss.
2. Know who you are at the foundational level, so companies lose their power to prey on your insecurities. Why do you need a Lexus with a bow on top, the newest and coolest iPhone or Samsung smart phone, or a hot piece of clothing or jewelry? Because these will give you value. Because people will look at you and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at how cool you are. People will tell you that you are important. Because you don’t know you are already valuable in Jesus as his son or daughter; you are already a full cup that is overflowing with the value he gives you, so you don’t need anything else to give you this validation.
3. Giving and trading are not the same things. We often rationalize our overspending on the fact that we are giving…and Christmas is all about giving isn’t it? It’s okay to feed the materialism and gluttony machine if it’s in the name of giving to others. At Christmas time though, nearly all of our gifts have a kickback. They aren’t really gifts, they are trades. I buy my 35 year old brother a $30 nerd toy he doesn’t need and what do you know? I open a box from him with a $30 nerd board game inside that I don’t need. Have I given? No. I have traded.
4. Experience the true joy of Christmas through actually giving. Watch this short video and see if you can’t relate to it:
If you understand and apply steps 1-3, you will undoubtedly free up some considerable cash. Or you’ll realize you’ve never actually given anything and you’ll budget some other cash for actually giving. What can you do with this cash? Who can you actually give to who is unable to give you anything material in return (shucks, no ugly sweater from them), but can give you the joy of caring about the things Jesus cares about? If you can’t think of anything, I recommend giving to World Relief, who provides sustainable long term relief to the most vulnerable in the poorest countries around the world. Everything they do is soaked in the love of Jesus as they work exclusively through existing local churches in these countries. It is a beautiful sight I have experienced first hand.
5. Take a deep breath. Rest in God’s love, joy, peace, and freedom that He offers you and He alone can actually deliver. Realize these things will never be found in a Black Friday sale or the perfect Christmas party. Let your house get a little messy, slack on the decorations, show up a little late, and buy less expensive gifts. God still loves you and He is still on the throne.
6. Savor the moments. Don’t see a Christmas party as something you have to check off your to-do list. Think of it as a time to share the love and joy of Jesus with those in your life. Savor each conversation, each meal, each board game, and each Christmas cookie.
7. Internalize Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
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Host of the Beyond the Battle Podcast
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