Our shopping this year has been different. I've known this in my heart, but I didn't start to "own" it until this year I think... the fact that giving gifts that are more than we can afford, in the name of "generosity" is actually very dishonoring to God. Our money is not our money... it is God's and nothing pleases Him more than obedience. "To obey is better than sacrifice..." (I Sam. 15:22). Displeasing my Savior is not worth the temporary satisfaction of knowing the gift we gave was the biggest & best. I am such a people-pleaser and Brian's love language is gifts, so it has been hard for both of us to accept this truth. Even now as I type, I'm planning to return a few things tomorrow that we bought that were not good stewardship of our money.
Brian & I have some very different opinions about things this time of year and it always gives us a lot of good conversations during Christmas-time that sometimes end with us agreeing to disagree. Thankfully we agreed this year that we would try to emphasize GIVING and try to minimize GETTING so our kids will hopefully not get so caught up in all the "me, me, me." Easier said than done. I feel like we've already failed. It's not too late, it's only the 22nd. We still have a few days to try to save this Christmas from being one more Christmas down the drain of commercialism, consumerism and greed.
One thing we've done that has been good is What God Wants for Christmas. Thanks Mom for this great idea. If you are looking for a hands-on way to share the Christmas story with young kids, this is a simple way. We are opening one box per night for 7 nights. The two older girls have been taking turns opening the boxes each night. Tonight it was Tatum's turn to open box 4. The past few nights we've opened Gabriel, Mary & Joseph. Avery has been saying all day she hoped tonight would not be baby Jesus, because she wanted to be the one to open that one. She started crying when Tatum opened up box 4 and sure enough, there was sweet baby Jesus inside! Thankfully God has blessed Tatum with a wonderful sharing heart and she sweetly let Avery hold baby Jesus right after she pulled him out of the box. Anyway I'm thankful for this new little tradition we've started that gets our focus on Jesus, even if it's just for 10 minutes each night.
We've also done alot of driving around looking at Christmas lights. We saw one house last week that pretty much ruined every other house & neighborhood in all of Houston. It was amazing. If you live in Houston, email me and I'll give you directions. Your Christmas will not be complete without driving by this house!
Yes, that was all ONE house! I heard they are the developers of Memorial City Mall, which is my favorite mall in the whole world, so you can tell they have good taste (all the candy, hehe!)
I am overwhelmed with joy at this life I live. I sometimes sit back and reflect on who I am and what life I lead and I have to catch my breath when I realize this is me. Me, the little girl who had so many big dreams. I am where I've always wanted to be. The life I am living out each day is truly my dream life. My heart is filled to the brim with love for my Lord Jesus for giving me this life, for my husband & kids for being the fulfillment of my dreams, for this house and all that is in it for making this lifestyle all work, for my family for being behind the scenes supporting us in so many ways, for my friends adding laughter & companionship as we journey through life.
My oldest friend Bekah is having her first baby tomorrow morning by C-section. It's a girl and her name will be Aubrey. Bek & I drank from sippy cups together when we were tiny. We have a picture of us when we were probably about one year old sitting together in a big recliner and another picture of us graduating from kindergarten together and of course, many pictures of us growing up and graduating from high school together. I can't wait to get to SA next week to hold that little girl and see my sweet Bekah as a momma! My second oldest friend, Brooke, had her first baby boy Charlie, a couple weeks ago. Brooke & I became friends in kindergarten. She's in NY now so I don't know when I'm going to meet Charlie, but I already love him so much. My college roommate had her second baby last week, a boy named Judah. Kristin & her twin Kelly, were my roomies at A&M. I always watched their friendship as sisters and was amazed by it. There is just something about sisters that amazes me. And those two are some of the sweetest, most genuine sisters I've ever known. Oh and I've been friends with them since elementary school too.
So much joy in those families that I have known my whole life. So much sadness in other families right now. A couple different friends & family going through great physical pain & uncertainty, others who are in very difficult financial circumstances, family members missing the ones we've lost in the past year, co-workers & students who desperately need JESUS to show them the reason they are here, the list goes on.
Lord Jesus, let us not be like the innkeepers at the time of your birth.... Let us all make room for You this Christmas... Let us not get lost in the world's ideas of shopping, eating, watching TV, forgetting You... May the cry of a new precious baby boy born 2000 years ago awaken our hearts throughout these next few days and may we praise You as we celebrate this wonderful time of the year.... You alone are our hope.