Tuesday, December 13, 2011

He’s changing Christmas this year…

image via pinterest

I love, love, love the holiday season. The family get-togethers, the presents, the traditions, the food. So many of my favorite memories have been tied to those things. But for some reason, Christmas is different for me this year.

I can’t put my finger on it, but I was walking around Target last weekend, and I was nearly in tears. There were so many beautiful items to make you and your home and life lovely, and all of the sudden, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that it all seemed so ridiculous and excessive. And Target has always been one of my very favorite stores.

But $5 paper rose ball ornaments, $55 white bedskirts, 24 different types of coffee makers, entire aisles of hair accessories? Suddenly my stomach was hurting. How many times have I participated in and enjoyed this indulgence? How many times have I bought into the lie that I “needed” all of this stuff? Too many to count.

I’m so stinking guilty, it makes me feel sick.

I don’t understand, God- what am I doing? Why do I buy hundreds {maybe thousands!} of dollars worth of junk every year for myself? What is wrong with me? How can you stand to see me do this? Oh, please forgive me! Keep me from doing it again, because I know I will if I’m left on my own.

Babies are starving, and I’m trying to figure out what presents to buy for my children who already have more than enough books, toys and clothes.  I’m buying my 8th cardigan sweater and people have no Bible in their own language.

What is wrong with this picture?

I’m walking down the aisles of Target, asking God how we are supposed to live here and do this Christmas thing when people are dying from no clean water, having never heard about Jesus. Where do I go from here? I’ve never even been on a mission trip, and somehow I’m feeling culture shock. God, what are you doing?

Either my eyes are more open this year, or He’s working on lots of people I know in the same way. One friend I have doesn’t do Christmas presents with adults- they only give three presents to their little ones. Another friend posted this on her Facebook wall:

definenecessity

My heart was broken reading how radical Christmas could be from Ann Voskamp.

And my husband came home two weeks ago and told me we should buy these chickens for Christmas presents this year.

God is changing our family’s view of Christmas and holidays. It’s kind of scary and strange to think about not enjoying our traditions like we always have. What will happen? How do we interact with people who don’t feel the same way?

I don’t really know just yet.

We enjoy giving gifts to our family and friends- so we will still do that this year. I’m trying not to just buy things, but to really put even more meaning and love behind the gifts that we give. To make more instead of buy more. To enjoy the company of others and show them love instead of just focusing on gifts or ourselves.

The Target trip really convicted me of my senseless spending- do I really need pretty disposable plates and matching napkins that say NOEL for a Christmas get-together? Shouldn’t we just eat off of plain ones this year? My standards for beauty and perfection need to change. Why do I care what my tree looks like when people across the world need food? Ugghh, how ugly has my heart been?! What else am I doing now that He will show me next week?

I feel like God’s really leading me to get rid of the excess stuff here, to decorate and make things using little money or what I already have on hand, and to be more conscious of what I buy for myself and the house.  We like to buy used- but it’s very easy to use the savings to buy more things instead of giving it away or using it to pay off our home debt.

I’m not sure if Rob and I will exchange gifts- really, we both have far more than we need. I have no idea what Christmas will look like this year- but it feels different already.

I’ve been praying since I turned 29 that God will radically change my heart and visibly change my life before I turn 30 next October.  I guess I really didn’t expect Him to start by changing my perspective of one of my very favorite things in this life- Christmas.

It makes sense though- He started radically changing the world with a birth at this time 2000 years ago. Should it really surprise me He started changing our hearts at Christmas too?

I am so in awe of the God who works in us- He’s opening the eyes of my husband in the same way He’s opening mine. I have no clue what He has in store for us next. We both have this weird desire to give up all these silly things we have- to let go of our traditions and comforts here. It doesn’t logically make sense- we have everything we’ve really ever wanted- and to give it all up seems crazy.

We don’t know what will happen in the future, but at least for the moment it seems very clear that He really wants us to give up our ideas and fantasies about Christmas and to open our homes to others and share our feasts and parties when we normally wouldn’t. To show love to our friends and family and strangers instead of loving an idea of what Christmas should look like.

I can’t wait to see what happens- will you guys pray that He continues to work on and in our hearts and that Christmas will be continue to be changed among His people?

He is such an amazing- amazing- God. How awesome that He can radically change us- that we have His Holy Spirit because He sent His Son to be born among men so many years ago. He is the only reason for this season. I am so excited to see what He will do with His people! Let’s pray that He will be our focus this Christmas. :)

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