Christmastime has not always been an easy time for me. 5 years ago, my father died on Christmas Eve and the following year the economy took a downward spiral. As a result of this decline, our Christmas traditions, preparations and presents became less and less with each passing year.
So much of what I was used to was being stripped away from me.
The financial downturn even made an impact on my Christmas tree!
How is that possible, you might ask?
Here’s my story.
Many, many years ago we bought a 9ft. tall Christmas tree for our first home. At the time, our house was a 2 story and the living room had a vaulted ceiling that reached all the way up to the second story. 7 years later we moved to a single story home and in that house the ceilings reached 14ft. Seeing how I just loved my Christmas tree, I was excited about the height of the ceilings because I knew our 9 ft. tree would fit in our new home.
My Christmas tree was one of my favorite decorations with its coordinating tree skirt, ribbons, angel topper and ornaments. It was gorgeous and I used to love to look at it.
One of my preferred things to do was to sit in my chair and turn down the house lights and sit just staring at my lit tree. I would take in the silence and beauty while looking at all the different ornaments. Some were pictures of my children when they were babes, or crafts they had made for me, others were given to me by friends, some I purchased while on vacation to remind me of our time, and the latest ones were the ones that focused on Christ to help remind us of what Christmas was really about.
Those were fond memories I had of just staring at my tree either in the peace and quiet or with Christmas music playing in the background. It was a relaxing time. A soul searching time. A time to ponder all that God had done and was doing in my life. A time to enjoy the memories that we were making as a family.
For some strange reason, the tree was important to me and I just loved it!
Then we lost our home and moved to a rental home.
When the Christmas season rolled around, we sold my tree because the ceilings were not high enough for the tree to fit AND we needed the money for food.
I was sad to see it go but I reminded myself that it was a material possession, one that the Lord blessed me with.
The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD! Job 1:21
A year later….
We are not in the same rental home, but a different one. A small home where there is no room for an average size tree, but rather a very tiny one. One that it not even 2 ft. tall (this tree was once used in my son’s bedroom during the season.)
My 18 inch tree. Christmas 2011.
For many years my children were blessed beyond measure with some of their favorite things at Christmas. Yet, that is not a part of God’s plan these past few years. Sometimes we think we are missing out if we don’t have a lot of money to spend on our children or bless our friends and family with gifts.
And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 1 Timothy 6:8
I love Paul’s words…they soothe my soul.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Philippians 4:11,12
When I take my eyes off of my situation and put them on Christ, then I realize my children get to see God’s hand of faithfulness first hand. Nothing under the tree is distracting them from seeing the miracles of their Savior. This is a hard, spiritual exercise even for us adults!
But it is within these formative years that their faith is growing and getting stronger. He is preparing them for something greater than what I could ever imagine.
They will remember these years when the only presents they received came from others. They will remember Christ came and blessed them at Christmas.
They will remember that their Daddy and Mommy loved each other in spite of their hardships. They will remember us holding fast to the scriptures in spite of our difficult reality.
Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation? If so, here are some things for you to ponder:
If you had more money this Christmas…..
You’d have more gifts to buy.
More stores to shop at.
More crowds to deal with.
More lines to stand in.
More presents to wrap.
More cookies to bake.
More crafts to decorate.
More things to clean up.
More things to take back.
More things that will eventually get lost, broken or forgotten a few months from now.
No…more is not necessarily better.
There is a blessing in simplicity. Pure. Organic. CHRISTmas.
Cling to Him.
May you seek to have more of Jesus this Christmas.
Live a poured out life for the Master,
I am linked up with: