I was just reading over a post I did last year on this and was reminded that again this year, our Christmas budget will be super tight! And this year, it's a little more uncomfortable because the little one now understands the whole "Santa brings you toys" thing. So, she actually asked for certain items. I'm still keeping to a $50 budget for her, which I think is plenty for a 3 year old and a $10 or so budget for all the of "the cousins (there are 8). That may not seem like a lot, but for us, it's a stretch. But I feel like I've been frugal and have watched the sales, been patient and will have some nice little gifts for everyone. I'm thanking God for helping me understand couponing. Because I have been diligent in finding good deals this year, I will also have gifts for all the adults as well (there are 10 of them).
I know what some of you may be thinking. "Why stress over trying to get gifts for everyone when it puts a strain on your family?" But to me, this isn't a stress. It used to be, let me tell ya! But I've changed my mind set and my attitude. I've always loved to give. It brings me a lot of joy. But worrying about not being able to afford nice items for extended family bothered me a little. I would love to give them the world! We are so blessed with WONDERFUL families, I just wanted to show them how much we appreciated and loved them! But I know now that that's not how you show love. Duh....So now, instead of stressing that the gift isn't nice enough, I thank God that He's blessed us so, that we're able to give anything at all. I ask Him to help me love more and give more of myself to the ones I love. Those are the things that last. Not a silly gift bag with a silly present inside that is just tossed aside after the newness has worn off. Love, kindness, gratitude, peace, joy, grace, patience, those are the things that last. And I'm learning to give more of those things.
I thank God for such abundance in my life. I feel so rich!
You see, the majority of the world would see me as wealthy. I imagine what it would be like if I could somehow scoop up my quarter acre and my 1600 square foot ranch style home and set it in the middle of some poor village in India. Those people would think we were the richest people in town! My house may seem small at times, but if you stand it against a little shanty type shack with a dirt floor, made out of sticks and plastic remnants? I'm quite ashamed to even think of murmuring one word of complaint about needing more closet space ever again! And what if one of those homeless, hungry children wandered into my house? I imagine they would think they were in a palace!
They would see a brightly lit Christmas tree, a mantel decorated to the hilt with colored lights, candies and ceramic gingerbread houses I've collected over the years. They'd smell cookies baking and see mugs of hot chocolate on the festive dining room table. They'd hear lively Christmas music blaring from the "All Christmas, all the time" station on my radio. They'd see little $10 children's gifts piled under the tree and feel the cozy warmth from the electric thermostat. Can you imagine? They'd feel like they died and went to heaven! And I complain? I feel bad because my gift costs only $10 instead of $15? I complain because we have to make the leftovers stretch a couple of days and can't just throw away and waste what we don't eat? My mind is tired from trying to figure out what I'm going to cook for all the different potlucks I have to attend (4 so far) because I just can't go out and get the ingredients to make the dishes I really want to make that will impress everyone? Even though God has blessed me with so much that I have made dishes for every event and everyone has raved about the dishes I did make, creative and inexpensive as they were. I feel just disgusted at the thought that one complaint has left my lips, although I've tried not to. I just want to shout from the rooftops, "THANK YOU WONDERFUL GOD!!! WE HAVE SO MUCH, IT'S OVERFLOWING!!! FORGIVE ME FOR NOT THANKING YOU MORE THAN I DO! YOU ARE JUST SO GOOD!!!!"
So, please. This Christmas, even if you feel like you have less than you've EVER had in your life, stop, take a look around and actually see your wealth. Because you have it! Do you have a roof over your head? A bed to sleep in? Lights on, water running (or not? Most people around the world do not)? There may or may not even be presents under the tree. But you. You are wealthy. Stop and take a minute to thank God for lavishly providing for you. Because He has. Be at peace and rest because He's so good to you. He is.