Simplifying Christmas: The Love Story of Christmas

Another big thing for us this year is working on keeping the love story of Christmas alive. To remember the reason for the season.

Why do we celebrate? It's Jesus' birthday! Without his birth we wouldn't have the opportunity to be saved by grace. He gave so much for us through his birth, his walk here on earth, and then his death and resurrection~paying the price for our sins.

How can we not give at this time of the year? I have always cringed when I am asked 'What do you want for Christmas?' or 'Can I have your Christmas wish list?' or 'There's a gift receipt in there, if you don't like it and want to return it'. Bahhhh!! How is that true giving?

When we lived so far away from family, we have broken the bank in simply shipping a $10 gift at Christmas time. It costs more to ship a gift than the gift is actually worth. Some of our family members have around 25 people to buy gifts for. This can get quite expensive at $20 a gift and then some need to be shipped as well. One year we 'bought goats' for a needy family in a third world country instead of giving siblings gifts. In recent years we have skipped sibling gifts all together. We truly have enough "stuff".  Some years the kids have made gifts for each other that can be mailed in envelopes. Simplified. I liked it. Recently we've gone the route of 'do whatever is on your heart and be happy with what you give, and thankful for what you receive'. So much less stress.

It seems like everyone is on a budget and strapped for cash ~ especially around the Christmas season. Yet, it is a time of the year where we are so thankful and want to give. A few years ago I was struggling with the excess in our lives. We all have 'stuff'. Too much 'stuff'. So, I went on a hunt through our house. Closets. Boxes. Dressers. Kitchen cupboards. You name it. I started posting "stuff" that was cluttering our lives on kijiji. In one month I made $350 on the excess that was cluttering up our lives. Every time someone would come to the door to pick up an item to buy, Mikail would jump up and down and yell 'More money to buy toys for other kids for Kimsas' (Kimsas being Christmas, of course). With our earnings from the excess in our home, we decided to make a donation to a charity as well as have the kids choose toys for the toy drive here in town. It was the start of Mikail's love of giving to children who had greater needs than we did. We try our best to give to a local charity as well as one that shares the love of Jesus overseas: Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes was his greatest excitement at Christmas.
2014 Shoe Box packing

2015 Shoe Box packing

Jesus gave so much for each and every one of us through the love story of Christmas. How can we not give in return? Even if we are on a tight budget. There are creative ways around it. Sell some "stuff". Give of your time. Bake and share the baked goods with your neighbours. There's so much we can do in sharing the love story of Christmas and remembering the real reason we give during this time of the year.

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