This year Wendy and I wanted to do Christmas differently. We really trimmed down our gift giving. For so many reasons (spiritual satisfaction, living on one income, avoiding materialism) we wanted a simple Christmas that focused on Jesus. I'm very convicted of my own materialistic tendencies. I confess I love to get and buy stuff, and I know that this Christmas I had to make some intentional choices to downsize the gift giving, so I can implement this more in my whole lifestyle. I told a lot of my family not to worry about gifts, and I really think it helped prevent the stress of the season from overtaking us.
For my daughter, our morning started out singing songs and making our way to our living room where she received three wrapped gifts (books) from us. With out so much time gathered around gifts (that she'll quickly forget about and not want anyway) we were able to spend more of our time simply being together as a family, playing, eating, etc. We gave her this one specially,created Dora book from Shutterfly, and it was so hilarious her reaction.
Wendy and I decided not to exchange gifts and to find other ways to express our love and appreciation. We really felt like we truly did get that this season. After our Dora book reading session, we made our way to our friend Jenni Ingram's house for what we fondly called, "WAFFLE BALLS!" They were out of this breakfast world. So good. It's actually called Aebleskiver, a Danish delicacy. They are like waffle donut holes. My daughter ate 2. I ate 11.
Too bad the gym was closed today.
After our waffle balls we took a nice, long, family nap. Then made our way to my in-laws for some more celebrating.
Overall, We enjoyed great times with family and friends in California and Chicago this Christmas 2008. We had times of intentional conversation and prayer. We were able to serve together and have time to reflect, read, and pray. I have to share this, though! Here's one gift I did get that had a positive effect on me!
Compassion International is a well-known organization that I love, and have sponsored a child with them for about ten years. It's a great way to give and help children in poverty. This was one gift that fit just right and felt good that it wasn't about ME! And since this is my 1st Christmas in California (since we are usually in Chicago) I was able to join our Street Church family to celebrate tonight, another great gift.Ending the day with my friends on the street was one of Christmas' true blessings! To be outside in the cold, simply celebrating with others by eating together and singing was a real gift. It was such a special way to for me to feel that the true celebration of Christmas wasn't lost in my busyness or the typical holiday commercialism. Thank you God for coming into our lives. Thank you Jesus for coming into our cold and broken world, being a homeless king, and choosing humility. We worship you and thank you.