Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spend Less, Give More

by Tim Howard

How are you doing with regards to your Christmas shopping?  Have you purchased something for your children yet?  Are you still frantically looking for that perfect gift for that perfect someone in your life?  What about your friends and co-workers?  Are you running from store to store and checking online prices to find a great gift for a great deal?  In all your activities, have you ever stopped to think there might be a better way to celebrate Christmas without spending a lot of your hard earned money?  If I could show you how to spend less yet give more, wouldn’t that be good news?

This year I’ve decided to join the ‘Advent Conspiracy.’  I am conspiring with others to find a way to celebrate the Advent of Christ without yielding to the spirit of consumerism, which is very much alive in our culture.  I’m not implying we should spend nothing! It’s not about being stingy, miserly or acting like a scrooge.  Share nothing, have nothing or give nothing.  NO! It’s all about giving gifts BUT giving gifts that mean something and make a real difference.  Spend less and give more!  Sounds impossible unless you realize that the greatest gifts we can give people cost nothing at all in a monetary sense.
Three of the greatest gifts came to us through the birth of Jesus Christ and you can give these three gifts to others.  He came to reveal the Father’s love.  He came to give us joy and He came to offer forgiveness and freedom from our past.
A Doctor by the name of Luke makes mention of these three gifts by recording the announcement of Christ’s birth in the Bible.  He says in Luke 2:10 -11, “the angel of the Lord said to them, ‘…behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” 

Did you notice that Jesus came for everyone and not just a few?  The very fact that God decided to live among us reveals His great love toward us and when you add joy and forgiveness to the equation you have three pretty awesome gifts. That’s not only good news, that’s great news! 
The spirit of consumerism can too easily blind us from seeing the real message of Christmas. If we miss out on what’s truly important the Christmas season can be a burden to endure rather than a blessing to be experienced. 
I invite you to join the ‘Advent Conspiracy’.  Return to the true meaning of Christmas.  Decide to celebrate God’s presence rather than focusing on getting more presents.  Give more of yourself by serving rather than spending. In doing, the people you encounter will be energized and see your love.  Forgive those who have hurt you and they will experience great joy - So will you! Many gifts can be given to people this Christmas but Love, Joy and Forgiveness are among the best. 
If you join the Advent Conspiracy, you will have more money in your pockets and more life in your heart at the end of the season.  You will honor God by exalting His son Jesus Christ and that’s extremely important since it’s His Birthday.  He is the reason we say: Merry Christmas! 

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