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Spend Less

SPEND LESS

And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’
— Luke 3:10-11, NRSV

When do you say your Christmas shopping is done? Are you the type of person that gets it done before Thanksgiving or by the beginning of December? Or are you still trying to find presents for people on Christmas Eve?

I always have a moment in the Christmas Season when I feel like my Christmas shopping is done, then I am in a store or online, and I see something that makes me think of a family member and Bame! At that moment I'm back in shopping mode. It's like no matter what, I can't keep Christmas simple.

What do you do to limit your Christmas spending and giving? I think for many of us, we enjoy the act of giving presents. But our passage this week challenges us to think about what we are giving and if it is something the recipient really needs. Does our friend or a family member need another cookbook or another sweater?

The passage above from Luke is a beautiful passage from John the Baptist. Advent Conspiracy writes about the passage:

John the Baptist says if you have two coats then you should give the second away. I wonder — and maybe rationalize — did he mean two coats of the same style or purpose? I have a raincoat, a ski jacket, a leather coat, an overcoat, a windbreaker, multiple sport coats, a light coat, and a heavy coat, and I may have a few others.
— Advent Conspiracy, Rick McKinley & Chris Seay, p. 52

Are there things that we buy that aren't necessary gifts for someone? Things that we buy just because we need to buy a gift? That's not the purpose of Christmas. We are supposed to give to others out of love, not give out of obligation. Too many times, we buy because we have to and we spend a specific dollar amount so we can show someone how much they matter to us. The result is that we put ourselves in debt every Christmas, and then spend the beginning of every year trying to pay it off.

How strange and sad it is that debt and consumerism reach their pinnacle on the morning we celebrate the birth of Jesus — the Savior who came to liberate us from these things. 
— Advent Conspiracy, Rick McKinley & Chris Seay, pp. 57-58

This Christmas, consider why you are giving a gift, who it is going to, and how you can show your relationship with that person. Don't focus on the amount you're spending and checking names off a list. Spend money with a purpose and impact the people around you.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  1. When was the last time you got exactly what you wanted? How long did the joy last?
  2. Christmas is a season of excess. What things do you tend to be in excess with? food, drink, spending, schedule?
  3. What kind of example of gift-giving are we setting for the children in our lives?

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