Marc and I know that the 'reason for the season' isn't gifts. There have been times that we have been minimal in gift giving because of conviction and times we have been minimal because we were broke. There have been times when we have been generous out of God's abundance in the previous year, and times we have been generous out of guilt and pain.
Preparing my heart and home to give gifts at Christmas starts with two questions:
- How much, as a good steward of what God has given us, can we spend? Looking at our whole financial picture - for the year, not just December - what is our limit? Starting with this limit, we will decide what is going to get spent on whom. We will remember to include those incidentals that I mentioned last Tuesday.
- What is my motivation for spending? Am I buying or making gifts as a celebration of God's goodness to me and my family? Or am I trying to appease some guilt or loneliness? Am I seeking approval and trying to impress? Or am I making choices to give out of my love-dance with God that celebrates the gift of His Son?
Being aware of my financial limit NOW allows me to strategically make gift choices. Being aware of my motivation for giving gives me time to spend inviting God to search my heart and change me; to bring me back to the place where I know His love and His approval and can give gifts to others in response to Him; rather than giving gifts to others to get what only amounts to a shadow of approval and acceptance.
(As I was re-reading this before hitting 'publish' it occurred to me that that the same questions about motivation should be asked as we get ready to receive, just as much as as we get ready to give.)