Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Past & Future

I often seem to get the post-holiday blahs. It's not yet New Year's Day, so I'm getting it earlier than usual. It does seem to be less severe than last year, though, and for that I am grateful. There just seems to be a huge buildup to Christmas, that it's supposed to be some magical day that makes all our problems go away and everyone is Hallmark Card happy. Unfortunately, that's how I remember Christmas not too many years back. I know it will never be like that again. I'm not complaining, really, it's just that I have grown up and it's different. I will cherish those memories forever and would never change those wonderful holidays.

This year seemed so different. The gift-giving was almost non-existent. We met with no family. We even postponed our usual Christmas Dinner with our friends due to work conflicts. So Christmas was literally just spent with Jesus. I didn't feel sad. It was a lovely day to remember the greatest Gift ever given. I almost felt free from all distractions to give Jesus the whole focus of the day. I say "almost free" because I would have loved to have been celebrating with my family, potential stresses and all.

Honestly, I don't stress about Christmas. I haven't for a few years now. Probably because I haven't been Outside for one in as many years. I have come to realize that if I want to give a gift to someone I will, and I will disregard the cost (it's usually not expensive!) or the issue of if I've been given a reciprocal gift. I don't stress about the receiver's response to my gift. If they are unthankful, that is not my problem. I simply wanted them to know I was thinking of them. I often think of how Mary received the somewhat impractical gifts of gold (ok, maybe not so impractical), frankincense and myrrh. Clearly, Mary and Joseph had no means of reciprocating in equal, neither did they feel compelled to show how they would use the gifts in the future. That wasn't the point. The gifts were given to show honor to the recipient: Jesus (God's ultimate Gift!), even in infant form. If this is what our Christmas gifts to each other represent, then the
heart attitudes behind the gifts should be the most important and the gift itself is rather secondary.

I also don't worry about time spent at certain locations. I refuse to allow the thought that I am in charge of keeping anything even. I have deeper relationships with certain family members and happen to have things in common with others. I will not feel guilty if someone feels slighted. I often feel that if a visit feels obligatory, then it will not be nearly as enjoyable and the desire for it to be repeated will certainly wane. Quality over quantity is not just a cliche, but true for us both. That said, there are definitely efforts to spend time with as many family and friends as possible, but I just don't stress over it. I am just happy to see them at all! It's a compliment, I think, to
have family or friends want to spend time with you. And we also understand when people
cannot. We never expect everyone to drop everything, just for us. If it works, great! If not, there will be another time!

Our decorations and all are cleaned up and gone, with only a few candy canes from our friend's house to tell of this Christmas past. We have few gifts to reign in, which is likely due to the fact that we have no kids! We have felt a particular need to let go of the material. Let me explain.

Throughout the holiday season, my husband has had some sparse work days. You are aware of our fundraising drive that he was able to lead in because of that lull. This lull has also jarred us to the feeling of enslavement to our banker. We have discovered that we have loved the
opportunity to raise money for someone other than our banker, and are feeling more and more led to change our lifestyle in order to allow this to happen more frequently. In a move that seems quite backwards, we are considering selling our beautiful and beloved home, and living on only that for which we can pay cash. This means using any profit from the sale of our home to
purchase land and build a home, likely a small cabin to start. Let me specify: we would not take out any loans to pay for anything. Our home would only consist of what we could pay for in cash. The plan allows for additions to be made, but only as our funds allow or as we choose for them to allow. We have a sneaking suspicion that as we have been made so acutely aware of the needs of people in this world, we may be led to forgo some of our comforts to feed a child, give water to a village, provide livestock for a family, or even to go and help those in need.

This concept is actually quite common up here, though not usually for the same reasons. I don't even know that my husband and my reason's are quite the same! I do know that this seems strange to me and even more strange that I'm so compelled to do it. My man is loving the idea of actually working for something as opposed to working off that same thing. This would give us the opportunity to own our home fully at all times, regardless of what is going on economically. We would not be enslaved to our banker, as nice as she is! It would free us up financially to travel when the work is slow, as well as allowing the opportunity to go on an extended mission trip if God leads. Financially it would be incredibly freeing. I can't imagine not having a mortgage or rent, and I absolutely LOVE to see numbers increasing in accounts. I love it so much that I'm
almost on the "hoarder" side of things, but I believe that I'll be fine when I get to see how it will be used.

Neither one of us is a big spender in general. We are not in debt, other than our property. We do not misuse credit cards or other means of credit, and we pay our bills on time or early. We know that mortgages have come to be an acceptable form of debt, but we feel God is pushing us away from this idea. I will not say this is for everyone, because I don't know what God is telling others. I do know that He is clear in His Word about debt and that it should be avoided if possible. We feel that it is possible for us, though it will mean a major change in our lifestyle.
I truly love our home, but I don't love it more than being obedient. I can only imagine what God will place in our hands if we open them to let go of this home. Imagine the possibilities! Pray for us as we continue to seek His direction and Praise Him for providing our Daily Bread!
Yes, this Christmas has much less of the blah's and much more anticipation! As I strive to give Jesus the whole of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, I just wonder what He'll do with it next.


  1. I've got God-skin, as I can't even fathom what God will do next, but no matter how big or small, it is still.....HUGE.

    Much love,

  2. Wow....good post! There's so much there, and I don't even know how to comment... it would be fun to sit down and chat!
    God is working through you, Melissa!!!