It’s beginning…the “I WANT’S” have arrived in our house. The kid’s are making a list of ALL they want for Christmas.
It’s usually whatever they have seen that day either on a commercial, in the store, or in a magazine. We really try and temper, when we can, the images that are inputed into our kid’s brains. But the season brings with it an impossible amount of temptation to spend money and indulge our children.
I love to buy gifts for my kids. But I also cannot and will not buy them everything they want.
We love to surprise them Christmas morning with presents but the presents are not the focus of the next five weeks.
I desire to focus on giving and helping others much more than what we receive.
But when the rubber meets the road, I struggle with carrying this out.
I have good intentions, but I often find myself caught in the middle between “the busyness of the season,” feeling guilty that I’m not “doing more,” and just plain old fear of stepping outside of my comfort zone and interacting with others that are different than me.
Yuck, yuck, yucky thoughts.
When my thoughts are on Him, when I come to Him for perspective, I am overwhelmed with the gift I have been given through Jesus Christ.
From that place of secure, amazing love, I want to pour out the joy of Christmas to others.
So, here, with you, I am laying it out.
I want to have a backwards Christmas. I want to have a Christmas that is so full of giving, scandalous (living beyond my safe faith and comfortable means) type of giving that sweeps my family up with me, riding the coat tails of God’s grace extending the gift to others.
This is why Jesus came, why the family tree of Jesus is so important, why we tell the love story through the Jesse Tree each December–to remember how much we have been given.
“It is more blessed to give than receive.” Acts 20:35
Well, I’m in progress. Praying, seeking, trusting that He will help me to know HOW to do this.
It could be in some BIG, extravagant way…but I believe most likely it will be in me obeying in all the small opportunities along the way.
Saying “YES” to God when I’m scared or don’t want to.
So, here are some ways we are going to PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST this Christmas…
1. SLOW DOWN
It takes time to stop, still our hearts, and listen to what God is saying to us. This is why we love the Jesse Tree, and the ability it gives us everyday to slow down, focus on what is important, and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
2. PRAY FOR GOD TO USE US
We are praying for God to give us His eyes as we go about our day. Praying that we can SEE people as He does. Who can we love? Who can we minister to? Who can we tangibly be the hands and feet of Jesus to this Christmas?
This has truly been a game changer for me. It’s impossible to stay inwardly focused long when you pray for God to turn your eyes outward. Instead of jumping into my day with a “to do” list, I’m jumping into prayer asking God to show me the hearts and needs of the people I encounter throughout my day.
3. SPEND TIME INTENTIONALLY SEEKING OUT OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
One of my most favorite “go-to” lists of service opportunities is from Kristen Welch, writer from We are THAT Family, and founder of Mercy House Kenya. She created a list that has so many great ideas of ways to serve others as a family.
If you are stuck, like me at times, just print out this list and pick something to do. Serving alongside my kids has been the best way for them to see how much they have, and to be thankful. It has also given them a glimpse into this BIG WORLD God has created and how it is not about them. So worth it.
4. CHOOSE TO GIVE GIFTS THAT GIVE SOMETHING BACK
There are so many unique, meaningful ways you buy a present to give to others that actually gives back to the maker of that gift. Some of my favorites are Paper for Water, Fair Trade Friday, Compassion International, World Vision, and the list goes on.
I’m actually going to put my faith in action today with you.
I’m going to begin giving excessively right here, right now.
I’m going to giveaway a box of the Jesse Tree Project’s handmade ornaments and devotional to one of you! Here’s a sneak peek:
Will you hope with me? Can we encourage one another to live outside of what the culture portrays Christmas to be and give in excess? Can we rally together to be brave? to be different? I’m praying for ALL of us to say “YES” to Him in whatever ways He may be asking us to this Christmas.
Want to win this darling set of ornaments and our devotional? Just comment below and let me know! Please share with a friend!
GIVEAWAY closes at midnight on Saturday, November 22nd. Hope you win!