It's Christmas Day and we feel blessed. Not because the house is a mess with wrapping paper and mountains of gifts. But rather because of the lack of mess. Yes, we opened some gifts, but it was by all accounts a very modest amount. We planned it that way. We planned to intentionally take the focus off of the gifts.
The truth is, over the past two years, we've become sickened by the materialism of the holiday season and, as I've mentiond in previous posts, challenged to consider making a Christmas change. Christmas isn't about presents, blowing budgets and going home with an arm full of things you really don't need. It's about love, hope, peace, family, and... the simplicity of that humble night in Bethlehem.
Recently a friend showed me a picture that greatly offended me. They didn't mean to, but they did. The picture was of their Christmas tree, or rather of the large (and I mean HUGE) amount of gifts beneath it. The caption attached to the picture simply read: "We are blessed."
Riddled with a variety of emotions over this simple photo and comment, I've spent the last few days mulling this over. Apart from my annoyance with how blantant their "bragging" was over the overwhelming amount of gifts, I was more offended by their choice to refer to the gluttony of gifts as a "blessing." Was it really?
Is it really a blessing to receive things you don't need? Is it really a blessing to spend money on toys, trinkets and other "wants?" Isn't there truth in the adage that it's better to give than to receive? And what about the simple fact that Christmas simply isn't about the gifts?
The truth of the matter is, I feel more blessed this Christmas than I ever have before. Having deliberately chosen to spend less and give more, my heart is full with the joy that comes in sharing what we have with those that don't have anything. My camera is full of photos that have capture quality time as a family, doing things that will forever be savoured in our memories. My hands are tired from baking and cooking to bless those around us. And my faith is strengthened for having spent more time meditating on the humble birth of my Saviour.
Happy Birthday Jesus. YOU and the love that flows through us becuase of you are why we are blessed.