Merry or Meaningful

I am pleased to share a guest post with you today from my friend Donna Triplett. I asked Donna to share how she and her husband Rick prepare for Christmas. Donna and Rick live in Taylors, South Carolina and are members of Pebble Creek Baptist Church.

As part of our decorating, we display our nativity set honoring Christ’s birth. Traditionally, the first thing we hang at the heart of our Christmas tree is a spike to remind us we celebrate Christmas to honor the innocent baby who lay in the manager that cold night was also innocent when He went to the cross for us. Nowadays we keep Christmas simple and relatively stress-free. Thank goodness for gift cards! The week before Christmas we read Old Testament scriptures telling of the coming Messiah, and then on Christmas Eve, we read Luke 2:1-20. Since our children and grandchildren are scattered across the country, we purposefully take more time to reach out to them as Christmas approaches and particularly on Christmas Eve. We love Facetime and Skype—it is especially vital for us this Christmas.

We grew up in the era of bank-sponsored Christmas Clubs. You deposited a amount of money every week, and the bank released that savings to you around Thanksgiving. It was a great way to save for those Christmas gifts! Credit cards changed all that. In their desire to create a merry Christmas for family and friends, an undisciplined person can fall victim to overspending their ability to pay. We too often found ourselves caught up in the hype of the season. So, several years ago, we instituted a practice of setting a limit on how much we would spend and never buying something we couldn’t purchase with cash. This year we’re starting a new tradition, we’re donating to charity in our grand-children’s names. Not being one who claims to enjoy running crazy on Christmas Eve looking for the last-minute, deep discount deals, we try to have our Christmas shopping “wrapped up” by the second week of December. Besides, we have something more important to do on Christmas eve.

To remind ourselves of the real meaning of Christmas, every year we attend Christmas Eve service to celebrate and worship the most beautiful gift we have ever received. Not a material gift, but the intangible gift of God’s grace and love. No matter the church—we have moved a lot —or the size of the congregation, more than any other service, for us, Christmas eve service evokes a true sense of awe and wonder as we worship our God who came among us as a baby and died to save us.

Donna Triplett, Taylors, SC

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