Every year, starting in October, the gift season starts at our house. My birthday kicks off the festivities, followed by hubby's birthday a couple weeks later. Both kids have their birthdays the week around Thanksgiving, and if we haven't accumulated enough new stuff by that time to be "thankful for", Christmas is just around the corner with a whole new batch of random objects filling our space.
My son actually stopped playing yesterday, sighed as he looked at the mess surrounding him, and then looked at my hubby and said, "Daddy, I have too many toys; I don't know what to do next."
And it's not that we don't have things we'd like to have. There are things we want, because it's part of living in this world with the constantly changing stuff around us. We'd like to have the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos, sure. But do we really NEED it? Hubby would like a new winter coat and a graphic pad for his computer, I am always looking for new clothes, and the kids -- well, they're growing and could use some age-appropriate toys and clothes in their sizes. But do we NEED any of those things? Probably not.
How often do I complain about not having anything to wear, while standing and staring at a closet full of clothes? How often do I stand in front of the full refrigerator or pantry closet and whine that I can't find anything to make for dinner? And how often do I look around my house and complain about the massive piles of clutter that need to be cleaned up?
What do we want or need for Christmas? Really? It's the intangible stuff that I really want. You want to get me something that really means something, here's what I'd like:
- A weekend away with my hubby. This requires the cooperation of his bosses, extra random money from... somewhere, and someone to agree to keep my kids for the weekend.
- Money for the kid's savings accounts. They need so little now, but the costs of education and other "big ticket" items for their future is climbing steadily.
- Time & attention from people that we love. I'd rather spend an afternoon sitting and chatting with you over a nice cuppa (pick your pleasure) than sending gifts back and forth making the mailmen miserable.
- The ability to give -- and teach our kids the importance of giving sacrificially. Money and time are tight for everyone. Donate volunteer hours or money in our names to someone who truly needs help. Pick an organization that you know we support or a cause that you know we're passionate about. (Need some help: World Wildlife Federation, Bethany Christian Services, Water Street Rescue Mission, Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services... and that's just suggestions)
What DON'T we want for Christmas? More stuff, just for the sake of giving gifts. Somehow, random stuff means we're not truly understanding the greatest gift ever given: the sacrifice of every expectation and right. We deserve nothing, but we think we do. Christ deserved everything, but took nothing. True giving means sacrificing for those we love -- not because they need it (even though they might) -- but because true giving is LOVE incarnate!