The Christmas season has arrived. Garlands, poinsettias, lights, and Christmas trees are starting to pop up in homes and businesses. Cookies are being baked, holiday guests are arriving, and Christmas cards are flooding our mailboxes.
This joyous season is now upon us. But before we know it, in just a few short weeks, the Christmas cards will be replaced with holiday bills and statements reminding us of the money we spent on holiday gifts for our loved ones.
So how are you financially handling the holiday season thus far? Perhaps you are staying within your means by planning a detailed budget and remaining within its limits. You may be taking advantage of seasonal sales in order to purchase that otherwise expensive, sought-after item. Maybe you are simply overspending on unnecessary items, having been drawn in by the seasonal marketing campaigns.
The financial pressures of creating the perfect holiday scenario can be quite daunting, especially in America, where the “buy now, pay later” philosophy prevails.
Of course, we all want to provide a wonderful Christmas experience for our family and friends. But at what cost?
As good stewards of our financial resources, we are called to be responsible with our money throughout the entire year, even at Christmas.
Take a moment to remember last Christmas. Do you remember all the presents you received? Probably not. Instead, you probably remember the way a certain food tasted, or the smell of the Christmas tree, or how the beautiful lights glistened in the dark. You most likely remember the feelings of joy caused by sharing a special occasion with loved ones. These are the memories that truly matter most, rather than what was packaged under the tree.
Though most of us believe this in our hearts, each year we find ourselves focusing on the material aspects of Christmas, sometimes forgetting the true reason for the season — the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. After all, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas if we didn’t buy nice presents for every person on our long gift list — or would it?
Perhaps, instead of just buying and spending, we could use our talents to share with others. Or, as busy as we are these days, maybe we could actually spend more time with those we love.
We could make a gingerbread house with our grandchildren, or brew up a cup of hot cocoa and watch It’s A Wonderful Life with our family at our side.
We are often so busy shopping that we don’t have time for sharing of ourselves. As good stewards, we are called to share our time and talent with others to glorify God, just as much as we are called to share our treasure. And even if we are fortunate enough to have the financial means to shower our friends and family with gifts, should we so recklessly spend our money? Aren’t there better places to utilize our God-given treasure?
Keeping our finances in perspective can be difficult, but asking God’s guidance as we make our financial decisions this holiday season is a perfect way to stay on track. Ask God to help you be a good steward. Ask God to give you the strength not to overspend as a result of guilt or a desire to “show off.” Indeed, true friends and family members will love you for your gesture, rather than the size of their gifts.