Why do we give Christmas gifts? Through the years, I have struggled off and on with the whole gift exchange thing at Christmas time. One year, we bought our children tons of gifts (we felt sorry for them because, in the past, we'd been unable to afford much - as compared to their cousins and friends). We put these items on a store charge card. BIG MISTAKE! It literally took us years to pay off that card. Along with the other purchases we'd made through the years and placed on that store card - much of those items very needed - they added up to a whopping $5,000! How in the world could this have happened?
Little by little, bit by bit, impatience by the boat load. We neglected to wait on the Lord and we went full-steam ahead buying what we felt we, and our children, had to have NOW. In the end, we paid dearly. Those Christmas presents that we placed on our charge card were purchased almost 10 years ago. The pay-off date of the card? Last week. We paid off $5,000 (which includes interest at 23%) in almost 10 years. When I think about what I could have used that money for, I feel absolutely sick. When I think about my lack of faith and trust in a mighty God, I feel worse.
Today, my husband and I are doing much better at handling our finances. We do not charge Christmas presents, no matter for whom the gifts are intended or why. We still struggle in the winter to meet our monthly and weekly commitments (gas, electricity, food, etc.), but that is mostly because of my husband's lower sales at work (he receives commission) during the winter months - and rising costs at the grocery store and the gas pump. It is fair to say that it is NOT because we can't stop charging at the store.
An interesting article by Louise Bishop at Faith Gateway gets down to the nitty gritty of Christmas giving. I encourage you to read it, as it reminds us to take the focus off ourselves and toward others.