Thursday, December 4, 2008
Credit Crunch or Christmas Contentment?
Lynn Cowell“Owe no one anything except to love one another for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NKJV)The TV blared the news: the economy is tightening and a credit crunch will definitely affect Christmas spending this year.Credit card companies are lowering credit limits and raising interest rates. Gone are the days of zero percent interest for your first few months on a newly opened card. As I watched the news, I imagined many families would share similar concerns of mine. Will we have enough money to celebrate and give Christmas gifts? Can we be content with less than usual? Is there any possibility this could be a good thing?Overspending during the holiday season winds up being a joy-robber. Many of us spend our December evenings and weekends searching frantically for that perfect gift or worrying over keeping everything “equal” (this is my personal worry with my three kids). The more I shop, the more I spend, and the less joyful I become. Sometimes, I find myself wishing the holidays would hurry up, get here and get over! There has got to be a better way to celebrate the birthday of Christ. Isn’t there?Yes, there is! Romans 13:8 encourages us to owe no one anything except love. This verse brought to mind my sister’s special Christmas last year. Her family practiced the very gifts of love this verse speaks about. They all chose one family member to buy a gift for. In addition to this gift, they wrote a letter of love to the receiver. Their letters included words of encouragement and appreciation. They asked for forgiveness of past wounds and sought renewed relationship with one another.My sister told me that reading these letters outloud before they opened gifts brought tears of love, healing, and restoration. She never gave the gifts a second thought after this wonderful experience. As the tears flowed from her family, in her heart she celebrated their best Christmas. The boxes may have been the fewest ever, but the love was the most! She was content.My sister inspired me. How can I encourage my family to focus on spreading God’s love to each other and those we come in contact with this holiday? How can I encourage others not to “keep up with the Joneses,” but instead to “keep up” with Jesus’ idea of extravagantly given love?How about your family as this Christmas season approaches? Is the tight economy exactly what your family needs to prompt you to rein in your traditional spending and refocus this year? I know it is for me and my family.Dear Lord, may the tough times so many of us are experiencing financially, point us back to You. Help me hear Your voice this season and truly demonstrate what this precious holiday is all about. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
In my mailbox today, I received a thank-you note from The Chapman Family. I was in awe of this sweet family. In the midst of their struggle and grief, they took the time to thank the people, many of whom they don't know personally. They thanked us for being one of those "God has used to 'meet them' with truth and encouragement" during this time in their lives. They stated, "while our hearts are heavy with the reality that Maria isn't with us for now, we do grieve with hope that indeed she is 'safe in the arms of Jesus', our faithful Redeemer and Sovereign Saviour." The last sentence said, "May we all continue to proclaim.."Blessed be Your Name...You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say, Blessed be your Name!"
I was totally WOWED by this...not only did they take the time to thank someone like me, who they do not really know, but just sent a card to them to encourage them, but they were PRAISING THE LORD...and PROCLAIMING His name all the way through it.
Please remember to continually lift this family and any others like them in your prayers.
They still need our prayers! May God Bless them INDEED!!!!
Safe in the arms of Jesus....
Every year our family goes to downtown Cincy for a day of family fun. This year was no exception. Here we are ice-skating at Fountain Square! It was a blast! By the way, I'm not really sure who's holding up who!!??