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The Spirit of Christmas

"Honey, how much did you spend?" This is a question I ask a lot. I'm the bookkeeper of the family and I always try to keep us on budget. Susan and the boys just got back from shopping for gifts we would send to children of war-torn countries. She didn't answer the question, instead, she gave me a look that says, "You don't want to know."

"Honnnnnnney" I said, with a tone of voice that was a cross between a whine and a scold. Before I could say the next word, my nine-year-old son replied "But Daddy, it's for the poor people."

Suddenly, I felt pretty small. There I was, a grown man, looking up to my son that stands a mere 50 inches tall. I felt ashamed for viewing Christmas as one more expense tugging at an already stretched family budget, and was proud of my son who understood the spirit of Christmas.

Perhaps you feel the same tension created by not wanting to be a scrooge, but still wanting to keep spending under control. Is there a way to enjoy the holiday season without the holiday stress?

The first Christmas present was a personal present. God didn't send a gift wrapped in brightly colored paper, instead He sent His Son, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

We should not try to replace giving of ourselves with giving presents. The real joy of Christmas is not watching our children open presents, but it is sitting on the floor with them and playing with their new toy. Maybe we would be wise to spend a small amount of money, but give a large amount of our time. People are more important than things.

Have you started making out your shopping list yet? Be sure to include your time as one of the gifts. If you do, everyone will enjoy Christmas more, and the joy of opening gifts on Christmas will not be overshadowed by the terror of opening bills in the New Year.

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365 Days includes Volumes 1-4
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