Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fa-la-la-la Focus

by Andrew Cromwell

December is here and that means the Christmas season and all that accompanies it. Love or hate the incessant and ever-present Christmas music, the cheery sweaters and the bright decorations, you certainly cannot avoid them. Some of us come kicking and screaming into the season, but come we must. Even the Grinch couldn’t avoid it in the end.

Whether you have more in common with the Grinch or Cindy Lou Who, let me encourage you to keep your focus on those things that matter the most during this season. Retailers will tell you what is important is to show the ones you love (including yourself) that you love them by buying them gifts. The key word here is “buying.” Every type of ad imaginable will tickle and taunt your senses seeking to entice, cajole or bully you into trading your dollars for their devices, your pittance for their paraphernalia and your cash for their crap. Before you know it, you will be right back where you were last year—deep in debt just because you want to make others happy with manufactured miscellany that they probably didn’t even need in the first place.

And if it is not the mad rush to shop till you drop, then you can easily be drawn into the pressure to do everything and be everywhere. There are so many family parties, gatherings with friends, holiday spectaculars, tree lightings, school plays and seasonal celebrations, that if you try and do them all, you will make yourself and your family sick or miserable (or both). In an attempt to try and do everything and make everyone happy, you will only end up hating what is supposed to be a joy-filled season.

This Christmas, why don’t you do things differently?

First, buy less. So much of what we give on Christmas is out of a sense of obligation we put on ourselves. We give things people don’t really want with money that we don’t have. And even if they really do want it, we are spending money we don’t have (hint: if you are paying with your credit card, you don’t have the money), then we are just dumb.

Second, plan more. Make a game plan with your family now. Decide which events and activities you want to do together. Make a quality decision to focus on each other. Preserve your energies so you can best enjoy the things you should do together.

Finally, focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas to begin with.  The true gift of Christmas was found not at Sears, Best Buy or Apple, but in a dusty half-forgotten village.  It was there in Bethlehem that the world received it’s greatest gift in the form of Jesus.

The pastors in Kings County would love to encourage your family to see the real reason for the Christmas season.  You may even plan to make a family trip together to church! 

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