Our first Christmas as husband and wife is one we'll remember our entire lives. Soon after marrying in July of 2007, we moved to Colorado as my husband was beginning his masters program at Denver Seminary. We felt strongly about getting through his schooling debt free and had enough in our savings to do just that. But it was going to be tight! I've never pinched so many pennies in my life! I shopped at 4 different grocery stores, cut coupons, and streeeeettcched every meal into as many as possible! When Christmas rolled around, I realized we would have very little to spend on decorations or presents for each other. Instead of bemoaning the sparse Christmas before us, we decided to make the best of what we did have. I found a wreath and two stockings on sale. We hung both above our fireplace and believe it or not, we enjoyed the teeny tiny amount of Christmas we were able to gather. On the 23rd of December, we decided to go tree shopping, certain we would find some deals so late in the month. We weren’t disappointed! We found a beautiful tree for only $15! Our next issue became decorating the tree (don’t the expenses add up quickly?!). Instead of buying throw away ornaments, we decided to invest in three special ornaments that we would keep and cherish our whole lives. When all was said and done, we had very little to decorate with, but every piece meant so much to us.
The best present was from God Himself, when He blessed us with a beautiful mini-snow storm on Christmas day. We were able to sit and watch the flakes fall so peacefully as we sipped hot chocolate and laid around in our pjs all morning. We took a long walk in the afternoon, enjoying the solitude and utter beauty of a nearby 800 acre state park laden with freshly fallen snow. Instead of ripping into expensive packages, we spent long hours praising God for His faithfulness in our lives. As the New Year rolled around, we found we didn’t miss the “stuff” we might have purchased if we had more money- and we are still able to look back at that Christmas as our favorite one so far.
There is much to be learned in economic times such as we are facing. When we clear away the clutter that money can buy, we recognize the best parts of our life cost nothing at all. Time spent with loved ones engaging in real conversation, sharing hurts and triumphs is worth more than gold. Spending an evening with your family recalling all the ways God has blessed you will draw everyone closer together. If you are facing a lean Christmas this season, I encourage you to lead your family into a season of thanksgiving and remembering all that God has done in your life. We all know Christmas truly should revolve around the birth of our living Savior, and what a better time to start celebrating just that? Find ways to worship our amazing God and celebrate the small blessings, and you’ll feel as if you’ve had the richest Christmas yet!
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6