I read my sisters' blog last night, and even though it was only one sentence, it kept me tossing and turning all night long......
"Why are they buying things they don't need and can't afford, to impress people they do not care about?"
I struggled with this very issue this week as I reflected on presents I had bought for teenage nephews and nieces. (Hang on that didn't come out right.... I care very much for my nephews and nieces!) I bought them various offerings from the Christian Blind Mission - goats and vegie patches etc, but then I began to panic that these would be unacceptable gifts, that the sentiment behind them would be lost......
Maybe what I should have bought them was vouchers for a music store, or DVD's or, I don't know!
And then I spoke to a friend of mine this morning who told me the story of another blogging friend. This family has seven children. Six adopted and one "home made". And ALL this family want for Christmas is the little girl who has waited five years in an orphange in Ethiopia - they want to bring her home so she can have a family for Christmas.
The other children in the family, told their parents not to buy them any Christmas presents, they just want to save the money to bring their sister home to them.
What selfless children!! I think they have a much better grip on the reality of Christmas, than many adults we know. (If you want to help out this family in any way, please see http://www.overthemoonwithjoy.blogpot.com/)
I love Christmas. The tree, fairy lights, gift giving, time with family and friends. But there is SO much more to it. Yes, it's a celebration of all of those things, but without the gift of God's own son, it is nothing more than an opportunity to "buy things we do not need and can't afford, to impress people we do not care about".
As we put up out Christmas tree on the weekend, I read out a special little story. I won't go into all the detail, but it puts a lot of the Christmas stuff into perspective, Christmas traditions etc.
The tree - an evergree fir - hope never dies.
The star at the top of a tree - a guiding light to follow.
The candle - a flame to light the way.
The wreath - a circle of love between family and friends.
The bells - to ring in people who are lost and have nowhere to go.