Christmas is almost here. If you’re like me, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas shopping. I didn’t say it’s time to start shopping—we have more than two more weeks for that—but it’s time to start thinking about it.
Christmas is about something much more important than gift giving, but let’s be honest, we all like giving and getting presents. I know I should have grown up by now, but I still feel like a little kid on Christmas morning.
One of the special gifts of Christmas that God wants for each of us is peace. He tells us Jesus will be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, NLT).
I don’t want to be Ebenezer Scrooge or spoil anybody’s party, but I do want to suggest one very practical way to experience more peace over the holidays is how you spend your money—not particularly heartwarming or spiritual but very realistic.
Sit down at the kitchen table. Write what you think you need to spend on gift giving, travel, hosting people, and special events. Next figure out how much it’s all going to cost.
Then I want you to take a look at your checkbook and figure out how much extra you really have to cover everything. Now go back and rework your plans and put yourself on a budget that isn’t going to bust the bank.
Oh, but before you do that, think of a special ministry or a family in need and be sure to include something for them in your budget. Christmas is for giving to those less fortunate than us.
The reason I want you to do all that is not to knock the holiday spirit out of you, but so that you not only have a wonderful Christmas—and New Year’s Day! Don’t start the new year with a bunch of new credit card debt—and no peace in your heart.
Don’t miss my point and cancel gift-giving this year. Do some special activities, and yes, plan to spend more money this month than usual. Definitely don’t miss out on the blessing of generosity. I am just suggesting you to do it in a way that keeps peace in your heart and home during the holiday season and beyond.
Besides, the greatest gifts aren’t about money. That might sound trite—but it’s still true. Get creative and think about what your friends and family want most from you. Usually that’s you! Particularly if you have younger kids as a parent or grandparent, you know they spell love: T-I-M-E. Don’t just do something special for your spouse, do something special with your spouse; something that means more to him or her than it does to you as an expression of your love.
If you can’t afford an extra check for the rescue mission, volunteer for a day of work. Heck, load up the whole family and go make a memory by serving others together. They’ll remember that more than anything you spend on them.
Buy and give great gifts. Share a lot of food with friends and neighbors. Go enjoy a show. But keep financial peace in your heart and home while you do it.
George Shinn grew up “dirt poor” but has had the pluck and drive to build numerous successful companies, including the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise. His life motto is “you got to believe!” The George Shinn Foundation is dedicated to helping people in need and building God’s Kingdom.