Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A Different Kind of Christmas This Year

For the past several years, Phil and I have been downsizing everything in our lives, including Christmas giving. 

As we get older and our income is greatly reduced sliding the slippery slope toward retirement, it's not only become necessary, but it's also become natural. 

A wise person once said, "You can't take it with you when you go. Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul?" Both of us had to admit it was time to let go of many of our material possessions and we made a pact to keep from adding more. We decided to do things differently. 

So, over the last few Christmases, we've gradually decreased our focus on giving material gifts to loved ones. Instead, we've given away treasured possessions throughout the year. We've tried to think of meaningful things to gift, things with a story behind them, and it's been fun doing that. 

We also stopped going Christmas shopping, to a degree. Instead of being out and about, in the midst of the Christmas chaos, we've simplified things by ordering online. It was so much easier and served the purpose. 

This year, with the Covid-19 virus running rampant, we've thought more about the true meaning of Christmas and how we want this year to take us back to a time when that was the one and only focus, which is as it should be. 

Of course, there are a few small gifts under the tree, but there are less there than ever before. And the gifts that are there are for a new tradition we've begun - celebrating Jolabokaflod, an Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve.

For those who can't be with us in person, we chosen to give consumable gifts and we've made charitable donations in the honor of our grandchildren. We felt those were practical ways we could celebrate the tradition of giving without going into major debt, while expressing our love to those most important to us.

I never thought I'd say I was thankful for Covid-19, but I am because it's caused people to hold tightly to what matters most and to rethink our lives. 

Worldly materialism has caused many to lose focus at Christmastime. Maybe this year, we can all learn to refocus our attention on the reason for our future hope. 

It will definitely be a different Christmas for many this year. Some have lost their livelihood, some have lost loved ones, some have suffered greatly due to the forced isolation, but whatever the case, Christmas will always be a time to seek the Savior and in the seeking, we're promised to find the best and most priceless gift of all, Jesus Christ.  

One thing I've noticed since we've begun to reduce our material possessions is the extra room it's created. I'm loving having all this extra space. And when you really think about it, we all have much more than we could ever need. Too much clutter produces a whole lot of stress and no one needs that. 

I hope your Christmas will be different this year, too. You may not choose to make the drastic changes we've made, but perhaps you can look for ways to hone in on keeping the main thing the main thing. 

Let's never forget that without Christ, we'd have no reason to celebrate Christmas and that would be a very sad thing. 

Covid-19 has stolen so much from us, let's not let it steal our Christmas joy. 

Yes, this will be a very different kind of Christmas this year, and that's okay by me. I'm looking forward to the difference because I think it's going to be one of the best Christmases ever as I don't pay attention to what is or isn't under the tree. All that matters to me is who's in the manger and who's on the throne.

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