“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world”— 1 John 2:16 (ESV).
“Why all the Christmas stuff? We haven’t had Thanksgiving yet!”
You might expect these words from an adult who has become disenfranchised with the commercialism of Christmas.
However, I overheard a boy, approximately 12-years-old, make this statement several weeks before Thanksgiving. I was attending a local charity event where some of the vendors had their booths stuffed with Christmas gifts and décor.
While I tend to agree with the youngster, I understand the purpose of these events.
What I don’t like is seeing Christmas merchandise on display in businesses before the calendar reveals it is still September. I understand the “why.” However, I don’t have to like it.
A recent “Atlanta Journal-Constitution” story headline touted the following: “Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say they’d give up gift-giving this holiday season. Would you?”
According to the news article, a recent Harris Poll survey revealed that “69 percent of Americans said they would.”
The online U.S. poll, conducted over a three-day period, included responses from 2, 158 American adults, ages 18 and older, with 1,986 respondents saying they spend money on holiday-related items. However, 43 percent of those polled said “they feel pressured to buy gifts and spend more money than they can afford.”
The poll also revealed that with “the extra time and money saved by eliminating gift-giving, 60 percent of Americans said they’d spend more time with loved ones, 47 percent would save money or invest it, 37 percent would pay down debt and 25 percent said they would use the money on activities with friends and family.”
Our family has decided to pare back on gift giving this year because my six grandchildren—soon to include seven—have more than they need. We’ve decided to create memories this Christmas by attending a Branson, Missouri. show together.
When my sons were younger, I felt it was important to instill in them the gift of giving. Whether it was selecting a gift for a child in need, purchasing and delivering food to someone less fortunate or helping an elderly neighbor decorate her house for Christmas, those choices made for wonderful memories.
Memories last. Material things don’t. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I came across the following anonymous statement I wanted to share with my readers:
“Ask your children two questions this Christmas. First: ‘What do you want to give to others for Christmas?’”
“Second: ‘What do you want for Christmas?’”
“The first fosters generosity of heart and an outward focus. The second can breed selfishness if not tempered by the first.”
Where is your focus—on giving or receiving?
Carol Round is a transplanted Okie, originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.