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Be the Gift

It's that time of year again! Black Friday! Small Business Saturday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday! My inbox is flooded with deals and great buys - not just for gift giving, but for me! Delete! Delete!

I read a survey on Dave Ramsey's website on what kind of Black Friday personality you are. It popped up on Facebook on Black Friday. Funny how that happens. After reading through the survey, I decided I used to be a number two:

2. The Sales Addict

“Half-price is for suckers. As far as you’re concerned, if it’s not 75% off, it’s not on sale. Some people call you a cheapskate. Others call you a tightwad. You don’t care—you can underspend all those fools in your sleep. And on Black Friday, you probably will.”

Come wind or high water nothing could keep me from a good sale! Not just Black Friday, although that was the mother of all sales, but just about any other day of the week. Remember when the Sunday Paper was all about the ads. Those ads aided me in planning my week. They sucked me in all the time! Now it’s my inbox that taunts me with deals and I have to work hard to hit delete before I get sucked in. I cringe thinking about all the time I wasted planning and thinking about stuff.

I am pretty sure I fall under number seven now:

7. The Conscientious Objector

“Forget the mall. You’d rather shop later or shop online. Let someone else have all the deals. You’ll sit back and enjoy your free shipping and a nice, warm fireplace, thanks. “

Which is what I chose to do this year. Maybe I’m just getting old, but the thought of fighting the masses tires me out before I even leave the house. Don’t get me wrong - I am still a shopping addict. I just choose to do it from the comfort of my recliner.

Last year, more out of the desire to move and get some air then anything else, Olivia and I talked Craig into being our driver and taking us to the outlet mall - on Thanksgiving night. We had a great time! The lines weren’t so bad and we talked about going again this year. Well, Thanksgiving came and we ate, enjoyed being lazy. The guys went hunting for awhile and the plan was when they came back (hey, someone has to watch the babies) the girls were going to hit the outlet mall again.

In the few hours the menfolk were out in the woods, the shoppers started to drop out. First Abby said she was out. ( I know, right?!) She was like I’m tired; I don’t feel like it. As Stephanie and Olivia began mapping out the night, I realized their shopping plan were much bigger than mine and I dropped out. Staying in with my hubby after everyone left sounded so much better. So two went and two stayed back.

On Black Friday I didn’t get my tree out or any other Christmas decor. I had not caught the fever. I just wasn’t ready and the rest of the weekend filled up with other things. Things I enjoyed. My plan was to do things gradually so I wouldn’t turn into an angry elf and just do some things a little at a time. For the most part, it's working. I'm keeping things to a minimum. I enjoyed putting a few new things out :)

I gave myself a gift by allowing a little grace in the decorating department. My family will say I gave it to them too. I used to turn into a madwoman the weekend after Thanksgiving and drove them all nuts in the process. I might be permanently scarred from working in a Christmas business for about fifteen years. That's a definite example of bringing your work home with you.

Mama was happy, and it was contagious. It's no secret Mom sets the tone for the home.

It got me thinking about how I actually gave myself a gift last weekend and in doing that others received a gift as well: quiet. In choosing to stay home Thanksgiving night, I didn’t catch the holiday fever and stayed quiet in the contentment of Thanksgiving. Craig and I had a nice evening together after the busyness of the day's preparations.

Friday, I didn’t drive anyone else nuts by the all-consuming urge to turn my home into a Christmas Wonderland. I spent some time with Olivia. I did some babysitting on Saturday without the distractions of a demanding to do list. I prepped some meals for friends that I wanted to help out the next week. We spent a relaxed evening at dinner with some good friends enjoying good company and catching up. Sunday I read an entire book. Glorious.

As I write this morning, I am watching the gift of the sunrise and it's absolutely gorgeous. My devotions this morning referred to the sunrise in Psalm 92:1, “To announce your love each daybreak."

I love that. When I'm in Alabama I wake up like clockwork to watch the sunrise over the Gulf. When I am home it's more like “Oh, there it is, the sun rising over the cornfield.” Not quite the same effect. But I realize in giving me that verse this morning, God is trying to tell me, “Hey, look! Here I am again declaring my love for you! Every single morning, no matter where you are the gift appears.”

So if God starts each day by giving me a gift, I need to think about how I can be the gift to someone else today. There are so many ways. Babysitting, a text to a friend to say hi and I’m thinking of you. Spending time in prayer for someone that you know the next few weeks are going to be hard.

It all starts with you being the gift... It makes me accountable to myself and is a good reminder that Christmas is a time for gift giving, not Merry Christmas to me. That I don’t unleash any selfish desires while ordering holiday gifts. Yeah, that's happened. This week I challenge you, as we enter the crazy beautiful time we call the holidays, to remember this: it's actually all about Christmas and the incredible gift God gave us in his Son.

The best way I can think of to honor that gift is to be the gift and keep a keen eye out for those who need to receive it from you.

Be the gift.

Peace on your weekend,



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