Douglas and I went to the mall yesterday to buy a cord to connect the new indoor antenna. It took us nearly longer to park as it took to drive to the mall. I was amazed at the numbers of cars trying to enter and leave the mall. I thought that nearly every house was represented there. We finally parked and walked to the store we wanted.
As much as I loved shopping for Christmas gifts in the past, I am so glad that the stress of trying to determine what to buy is not part of Christmas this year for me. We don’t have any disposable cash for gift buying.
But also, as I looked at people in the long lines with filled shopping carts, and I noted the frazzled looks, my first thoughts were that I had once been one of those people. I remembered even then wondering if this was really what a holiday to celebrate the birth of a savior was meant to be.
With no money to splurge, as I tended to do, I feel free to simply focus on the wonder of God’s amazing love demonstrated in the birth of that wondrous baby boy. I have more time for praise and gratefulness. My vision seems to be clearer on the real gift given to the world, rather than spending so much energy on worrying about if children and grandchildren will like a gift or if they will hate it.
Of course, between us, we have eight children, eighteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, and buying for all of them would entail a lot of money and logistics, especially as I have no idea regarding the latest new toys. And there was always fretting about equality of gifts across the age groups.
Today I delivered the gift I bought for my youngest grandchild for his birthday in late September. His father, my youngest child who lives less than an hour away from my house, had never came for it, so Douglas and I took it to them, to get it out of the house.
As I entered the house, my young grandson’s first question was if I had brought gifts to place under the tree. I said no, I did not have any Christmas gifts for this year. He was surprised, but the tree in their living room is packed with gifts already. I did not try to explain to a ten-year-old boy why we are not buying gifts.
But when my son asked what we were doing for Christmas, and I told him that we were not buying gifts this year, mainly for lack of money and the decision not to go into debt for what is essentially one day, he went silent and looked disappointed. I waited for him to invite us to join his family, as they are the only family close to us, but no invitation was forthcoming. Douglas was disappointed for me.
I understand why my son is upset, for every year before, I have spent thousands of dollars buying gifts, and then I have to pay off the cards throughout the year. I used to worry about what people thought if I did not give every child and grandchild two or three gifts.
But at age 67, I am not willing to do that any more, for I never know if Douglas and/or me will need long-term care in the future. I believe that what is more important is that I love them and I try to never miss a birthday.
I also have come to hate the commercialized nature of the holiday. I don’t know why it never bothered me before, but I think that we feel an obligation to buy and give. This year, I am content to stay home with the love of my life and discuss that wonderful baby boy named Jesus Immanuel who grew to be my Savior, willing to be obedient to God, even to death on the cross.
But, I wish everyone the best Christmas and will not rain on your parade. This is a personal decision, and I do not put down anyone else’s ideas of the holiday. I know that many people who celebrate the holiday are not believers, and I will admit that seeing the lights and gifts and trees still bring smiles to my face.
Merry Christmas to all.