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  • Janene Brown

Thoughtful Presents

First Years Married


Quite a few of our first married years we had small Christmas’s! We didn’t have much money and it was ok! We did thoughtful gifts and were content! I remember as a child that we always seem to have big Christmas’s! It was so much fun and I remember the excitement and the feeling of childlike glee! One Christmas after we married, I remember was very hard though. Our 2 girls were probably 12 and 16. We always tried to make Christmas special. My husband and I don’t buy a lot during the year, and we didn’t have much that year for sure. We always made Christmas cookies, we listened to Christmas music, got a real tree, decorated, and went shopping! That year I had to be resourceful! And especially thoughtful.














Guilt


I felt guilty that we didn’t have much to give them. Yes, I felt guilty. It was a rough time in our life at that time. No matter how hard we worked it just didn’t work out that year. God built our faith during those years of famine. We saw so many miracles! Our girls saw miracles!! However, guilt still came and I was sad we couldn’t get them much. We got a few things from The Dollar Tree, Five Below and I found a great deal on some fabric to make blankets. The kind you cut and tie. They were in a bin for $5 each. I stayed up late as my hubby read the book “The Christmas Candle,” to me, and I cut and tied. I was so excited until that morning. Then it hit me, I apologized. I know it was just material things, but it was important to me. That is exactly what the enemy of our souls wants to tell you, “it’s not enough.”


Beauty


It ended up being a beautiful Christmas. I could tell our girls were happy and content. They didn’t need a lot, they just needed the joy of the season! I learned a lot that Christmas!! Realizing the beauty in being content with such things as you have and that love doesn’t come from a store. I believe I had learned that lesson years ago for myself about being content. But, I found that lesson, that in giving I wasn’t accepted or rejected based on what I have or give. It was the beauty in the thoughtfulness of the gifts. I have always loved when I get a thoughtful gift, but we are so trained to believe that more means love. It doesn’t, friend. It’s just marketing and consumerism that creates this need to have more.


Deals


Now, I love to give gifts, it is so much fun when others are as excited as I am to give it! But, it’s not the dollar amount that signifies the worth of the gift, it’s the thoughtfulness behind it. I love a good deal!! I mean I really love getting a good deal. So you may be surprised that even with little money you can give some amazing gifts!! You can re-gift something that you have never used but is nice, you can buy something with Kohl’s cash and it’s free for you, and it’s still very thoughtful and kind. Once you get your money under control, you can save early and use a budget! A dear friend of mine who most would think she spends a ton taught me to buy at the end of the season! 75% plus off the day after Christmas for decor and other items!


Comparison


Do you ever compare what you have compared to your friends or family have? Don’t get caught up in the rat race of who has the best, who has more, and who has everything. A lot of those people aren’t happy and don’t appreciate what they have, it’s just another thing they can accumulate. I have a sweet and wise friend who just told me a favorite saying of hers, “Once you need less you will have more!” She said it takes the comparison way of life out, which equals contentment. In your marriage and with your family find joy in being content!



Gifts


Why do we give and receive gifts at Christmas? I have some very wise friends who give 3 gifts, as baby Jesus received. I have others who may do one big gift and some small gifts, others give an experience! Whatever you do, do it with love and thoughtfulness and you can’t go wrong! It’s something that we do, it happens all over the world, and it’s a fun tradition. It’s not the end all for Christmas and it’s good to teach our children early on that it’s really all about Jesus! We always read the Christmas story in the bible, and thank the Lord for another year, and that He came to save us from our sin. We give gifts in remberance of His birth and to celebrate that He came and robed himself in flesh for us! He is our gift!


Presents Or Presence


God gives us gifts, or sometimes we call them presents. He’s a good good Father! When you celebrate this year remember its not about the presents but about His Presence!! Is He invited into your home? Does your home have peace, joy, and love abounding? Does Jesus feel welcome in your home? His Presence is much more precious than gold or any gift we could give each other or our children. Thoughtful Presents are important, they are loving and have meaning behind them. If you don’t have a lot this year to give, remember you can give Jesus. Read the account of His coming as a babe in Bethlehem. Go visit a neighbor that might be shut in and sing some carols that glorify God. Hold your babies tight and tell them Jesus loves them. Hold your spouse close and just be together. You have all you need when Jesus is at the center of your home! His Presence is all you need!! Merry Christmas!!


Scripture


Monday: Luke 2:7 says, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” This is the true reason for Christmas!


Tuesday: Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” The world will try and make you feel guilty for not consuming more, but God, by His word, can help you renew your mind!


Wednesday: Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” What you focus on expands! So make sure to focus on what is true! You have enough, you are enough, and God’s provision is enough.


Thursday: Matthew 6:28-29 says, “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” God will always provide what you need! He will make a way, and know He cares about the little things you care about.


Friday: Haggai 1:5-6 says, “Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” Don’t live in comparison, if you do you will fall into debt and owe more than you have.


Saturday: Matthew 2:11 says, “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Let worship of the Savior of the world, Jesus, be in your home this season!


Sunday: Acts 3:19 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” When we have repented before the Lord, our homes are in order, and we are living for Him, we can enjoy the times of refreshing in our home from His Presence! What a joy and gift!!


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