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Faith, Parenting

Advent Week 3: The List of Things We Don’t Need

I know that I promised you all a Christmas gift guide for adults similar to the one that I made for kids a few weeks ago but for the life of me I can’t muster up any motivation to research and put it together. And can I be very honest with you? I just really don’t care about adult gifts. *gasp!* Okay, that’s not entirely true. I do really enjoy getting a gift for someone that they will truly love and to love them in a tangible way. I’m not entirely a Grinch! Though, if you were to ask me what I really want or need for Christmas I’m going to tell you that it’s a new bathroom vanity upstairs to replace the old broken one. Other than that, what I really want is adult time with close friends over wine and music and games. A long walk with my husband. A dinner out with my in-laws. Bowling with my nieces and nephews. Sitting next to a fire pit and drinking bourbon with my neighbors. Those are all on my list for this Christmas. All things that if you are a loved one of mine I’d love to receive from you – your time.

There are so many things pressing on all of us to do and give to each other during this time of year. There are so many expectations that bind our hearts at Christmas that we need to be reminded of the 5 things that we don’t actually need:

  1. Guilt | You don’t need or want it, but every year there it is. We may not realize it, but we’ve all deeply internalized that we should have and actually deserve all that of the things that we could ever want. We’re so afraid of disappointing and being disappointed by what we won’t or can’t buy our loved ones that we grossly over spend, over extend, over eat, and manipulate those for whom we want to make happy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can be content with what we give, what we have, and what we don’t receive. It is okay to embrace the spirituality of this time of year and resist the lie of materialism’s guilt.
  2. Debt | It’s okay to say no. You don’t have to get everything on your children’s Christmas lists. You can stop purchasing. You can give to others yourself, your time, your love, your energy without pulling out your credit card and spending outside of your means. You really are free to give and receive modest gifts!
  3. Perfection | It’s inevitable that someone is going to be disappointed, feel sad, annoyed, hurt, or sick during the holidays. The table cloths won’t match. An antique glass will get chipped. A family member won’t show up. The apple pie won’t set. And it’s okay. It’s normal. It’s expected. Please log off of pinterest. Stop looking at other people’s Christmases and enjoy your own. Our hearts need rest from the constant comparisons and unrealistic expectations that we put ourselves through. I can guarantee you that when you begin to loosen the reigns of what you are holding tight to, whether it’s perfect holiday outfits, minimalism, daily advent studies, perfectly grateful children, that you will begin to love and appreciate the humble birth of Jesus and be moved to celebrate with a thankful heart.
  4. Self Absorption |  I hate to tell you, but Christmas isn’t all about you, your family, your friends, your traditions, and your expectations at the expense of others. Some of the best memories I have at Christmastime my children think are so not important. There have been a few holidays where I’ve forced my family to participate in old traditions that they just don’t appreciate or enjoy, so we’ve had to start new ones! Some we have kept, some have been molded and changed, and some have fallen away. But what’s important is that we love each other and those around us. It’s okay to give Christmas away for others and to loosen our traditions and expectations. Putting pressure, guilt and shame on others during Christmas is not generous and kind and far too often marks this time of year.
  5. A Gospel-less Christmas | We need to hear the story of Jesus’ incarnation, death, and resurrection at Christmas. The glory of the Lord has been revealed to us and we don’t have to live with guilt, debt, the crushing pressure of perfection, self-absorption, and secularism. We can look to the stable and the cross, the life and divinity of Jesus, the heavenly host, the joy of our salvation, and rejoice!! Celebrate! Be free this Christmas!
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