I met Cassi through a Mom’s group and have enjoyed getting to know her and reading her blog. ~Kristen
Christmas is an extremely big deal in our home. My husband is CRAZY about Christmas. Our house is covered in decorations, we read Christmas stories daily, watch Christmas movies a few times a week and are constantly focused on the true meaning of the holiday- the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
My husband and I come from very different backgrounds. I didn’t grow up with much money in our household. I never had my own bedroom until after I moved out and got a roommate (and even then we almost always slept in the same room, we just slept easier that way). My mom wrapped up everything to make Christmas appear even bigger than it was. Those little Christmas story books with lifesavers inside? Yup, my mom wrapped those and put them under the tree. I am the oldest of six children on each side (my parents divorced when I was young, so my mom had six under her roof and my dad’s home also has/had six) so the combination of so many children and every little thing being wrapped under the tree made Christmas appear enormous. Our tree was overflowing!
My husband on the other hand, grew up in an upper middle class home. His family owns a 4 bedroom home on 3 acres of land. His father owns his own business and his mother is a nurse. They make decent money and they make responsible decisions which allow them to provide well for their children. His grandfather, who passed away in 2008, also spoiled them with gifts for Christmas. In fact, I sometimes think that he set a standard in my husband’s mind that we may never live up to regarding Christmas.
Because of these things, we REALLY do gifts. We spend more money than we probably should on Christmas and we really try to make giving a huge priority. We crave that “OH MY GOSH! SANTA CAME!” reaction from our children on Christmas morning and we love picking gifts for the people in our lives that are specific to them.
Last year my mother in law got a necklace with the birthstones of all 4 of her boys with a pendant reading “my boys” and I wrote and framed a poem for my grandmother specifically noting that she is the most selfless woman that I know- when I need an earthly example of what Jesus desires our selflessness to look like in action I ALWAYS look to her.
Spending time with my husband’s family is always special and we cherish that time. However, it is our trips to visit my family for Christmas that really remind me of what Christmas is all about. You see, my husband and I do fairly well. We pay our bills, we own two vehicles and we recently sold one home and are building a new one after relocating for his job. Sure, we worry about money sometimes. We get stressed when bills pile up, but compared to the rest of the world (not compared to my husband’s family though) we do well.
My family back home still doesn’t have a lot of money. In fact, I have numerous members of my family who do not work and whose only source of income is from government programs. We do not spend a ton of money for gifts for our family members there- there are over a dozen children alone that we end up buying for- but we make an effort to buy gifts for them. Most of them don’t for us. They can’t. Many of them are lucky to be able to provide a Christmas morning for the children in their own homes. That isn’t what matters. It’s so exciting to arrive in town with literally a box full of gifts, feeling like Santa came to town. When we go to see them for Christmas, we are able to give. It doesn’t seem like much- not when we have grown accustomed to the lifestyle that we live and experience with his family, but we give. It brings us such joy to provide gifts, love, support, encouragement and time to the people we love who don’t really have a lot.
I mean, when you really think about it, isn’t that what Christmas gifts are about? It’s not about what you get. When I think about Christmas (or am asked to make a list) it’s so difficult for me because I no longer have to live in a state of need. I no longer need to get socks for Christmas because if I need socks, we buy them. Or a scarf. Gloves. Shoes.
Christ came to earth to give us a gift- the gift being the opportunity to be redeemed and spend eternity with God. He didn’t GET anything in return. His gift was completely selfless. His gift wasn’t based on a spending limit, or the fact that last year he didn’t get as much as he thought. His gift was pure, and true and good.
As Christians, that is what we are called to. It’s about what we can give. It’s about how, when and why we choose to give. That’s why those trips back home are so special for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle- the lists, spending limits, parties, budgets and travel of Christmas that we lose sight of why we celebrate. Going home reminds me that we celebrate a gift- the gift of Christ.
That’s a gift that can’t ever be topped.