No, this isn't going to be a blog about the true meaning of Christmas. I think we are all aware that Christmas is the holiday in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. If that fact offends you then I guess you need to do some growing up. The world doesn't exist to merely make sure you are happy all of the time.
I want to share an experience I had one Christmas years ago in the hopes that it might bring a little perspective to your heart if you find yourself in a difficult situation this holiday season.
Christmas was right around the corner and finances were particularly tight that year. (Let me make it clear that we did not find ourselves in a financial bind because we didn't budget our money properly or because we refused to hold down a job. If you waste money or you refuse to work then you are in a financial crisis of your own making and have no right to complain about your situation.) Due to circumstances beyond our control the bills were overwhelming us and we were doing everything we could to stay afloat. What added to the frustration was the fact that I had a good paying job and was working enormous amounts of overtime, but we were still struggling to keep our heads above water.
We did manage to save some money to provide our kids with some gifts, but that year my wife and I couldn't afford to get gifts for one another. As Christmas drew closer I became more and more frustrated with the situation. It wasn't fair. I worked hard to provide and we were barely making it. It wasn't like I was sitting around expecting money to be handed to me. All I wanted to do was be able to get my wife a few nice things for Christmas. Was that too much to hope for? I remember expressing my frustration to God. I wanted to know why, when we were being responsible to work and to spend wisely, that we were in this mess. I wanted to know why we had bill collectors calling all the time. I wanted to know why we were living paycheck to paycheck when I had such a decent paying job. I wanted to know why I couldn't get my wife a gift.
As I sat one night, a day or two before Christmas, brooding over our financial situation a news story came to my attention. Two children had drown in a river while playing by the banks. It was then the Spirit of the Lord spoke to my heart and gave answer to my prayers of complaint. He pointed out to me that although we did not have a surplus, we did have food and shelter. While we did not have extra and things were very tight, the bills were getting paid (if not but a few days late at times). And while I could not buy gifts for my wife that year, I had my children this Christmas where another family would not.
I was totally broken in that moment as I reflected upon my blindness. I could only think of how that family who had lost their children so close to Christmas would give anything in the world to be in my shoes. I couldn't give much to my family that year, but I HAD my family there with me. I was not rich with gold and silver, but I was indeed rich. That Christmas Eve my wife and I did not exchange gifts, but I shared what God had shown me and we cherished the gifts that God had given to us.
Perhaps this year you find yourself in a similar situation; wishing you had more or could give more. Maybe you are frustrated looking at all the things you don't have and wonder when it will be your turn to be blessed. May I suggest to you that you stop, look around, and take a fresh inventory. Instead of comparing your situation to those who have more, try comparing your situation to those who have less. You may find that you are already blessed. It's just a matter of your Christmas perspective.
Merry Christmas everyone!