Christmas is coming. Before we spend, we need to pray.
In our culture there is a beautiful tradition of giving each other gifts at Christmas as an expression of love and caring. But too often if not handled correctly, this can put undo financial pressure on households which potentially causes ongoing discord and unrest long after the annual “holy”-day festivities are past. To stay in the peace God intends for us, we must avoid the cultural landmines of too many commitments and too much spending. Our focus today is “holy”-day finances.
It is still November, yet already permeating the airwaves, cyberspace and written media is a plethora of messages encouraging you to focus on spending. Either you will be “merry” if you give the right gifts or you will be “merry” if you finally get what you want.
When did a gift ever bring lasting inner peace and happiness? It is not possible, because that is not what God ordains as the source of true inner peace and joy – He is.
Now you may say – let’s be practical. I have to give gifts. It’s expected!
Perhaps it is expected, but this is where our faith should give us strength and courage. The Bible is clear that we are not to worry about what others think of us, but only about what God thinks. So before you shop, PRAY! God knows your financial circumstances. He knows where you are now, where you’ve been and what’s coming up. He is the One who enables us to have all that we have. He is the One to whom everything we have belongs. We are mere stewards, which means it is our job to put the money He provides to work the way He ordains. To whom we give what is part of this. God knows how He wants money spent. We are obliged to seek His will even in this and not succumb to any social pressure or pressure within families.
Sound hard? Might be. On the other hand you might find it quite freeing! That’s the way God intended it to be.
Cultural pressure is to spend lavishly on others so they know they are loved and yet, no gift should be a prerequisite to love. If there is a threat you will lose someone’s love or friendship if the gift isn’t “good” enough, then perhaps this friend’s love or friendship was never authentic. Love can never be measured by how much money is thrown at it. Love is separate from money.
As Christians we are blessed! Our Christmas focus is the Gift of Jesus, not the gifts. We can stop and pray when the pressure to buy sneaks in and do a double check with God to see what He thinks. In this way, we can avoid spending more than perhaps we can afford.
So make your list. Check it twice. Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you exactly what to do to cause each person you cherish to feel valued – but within your budget.
Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]
Note: I have another blog called: THRIVING ~ NOT JUST SURVIVING ~ MONEY BLOG (live purposely, live responsibly, live well) where I will begin posting more practical money management tips. I encourage those who want to become better stewards to subscribe. You are also welcome to submit money questions. We are to live in the world, not of the world, but we must know how to handle what God provides rightly. However, it is not taught. Thus the blog: http://thrivingstudentmoneyblog.wordpress.com/. May God guide our every step! ~ Elizabeth
Please consider giving the gift of CHRISTMAS WORSHIP this Christmas. Christmas is coming. A few years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that He wanted to be worshipped at Christmas and He showed me how many of the songs we sing beautifully tell the story of His birth and why He came, but very few actually worship Him during this festive season. As a result in December 2009 I was in the studio beginning to record CHRISTMAS WORSHIP, which includes 7 new, original Christmas worship songs, which the Lord had me compose specifically for this project. It can be purchased at www.holyspiritpress.org or amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Worship-Elizabeth-Fulgaro/dp/B004D9931G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069144&sr=8-2 or itunes or CDbaby.com http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethfulgaro3. Music clips can be heard at the CD Baby or amazon.com links. May God receive the honor and worship He is due this Christmas season.
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.