Have you ever really reflected on contentment during Christmas? No? – Me neither until a few years ago. Joy and gratitude, yes. But never much on contentment.
Christmas was often reduced to shopping and a to-do list a mile long. A time of getting and giving gifts. And I get that. Gift-giving is a wonderful way to show our love and appreciation to others and make them feel special.
But it’s important to keep it all in balance. Christmas is much more than our wants and wishes. It should also be a time of awestruck rejoicing and thankfulness. And a time of sacrificial giving, like Christ’s.
This strange Christmas
I think all of that is even more important during our strange Christmas this year. More than ever we need to remember what Christmas is all about. And to make room for more giving – even sacrifical giving – in our holiday time.
Giving of our time, ourselves, our hearts – and maybe skipping our gifts so that we can give to the multitudes of needy around us. Because, if you’re at all like us, you already have all that you need and then some!
How contentment can help
God calls us to guard our hearts and spirits – and to be content in all seasons and at all times. The apostle Paul even states that we should be content with nothing more than food and covering (which also includes a habitation).
These thought-provoking verses remind us that we came into this world with nothing. Naked, helpless, and poor. Yet God has always taken care of us. And that should be enough to make us content.
Contentment actually means “happiness with our life situation.” As Christians, we are children of God Most High, seated with him in heavenly places. Sons and daughters of a loving heavenly Father who will always care for us.
What better life situation could we ever find – even in the midst of life’s trials? That should make us content at all times and in all things.
But contentment is elusive
Contentment is a hard thing to hold on to in this world where we are bombarded by stuff, during Christmas especially. Even in childhood we are taught to send wish lists to Santa. Which is why Christmas contentment, in particular, is so hard to keep.
But we never hear contentment mentioned, or much about giving to those less fortunate that we.
So several years ago we decided to create a contented, joyous, and generous Christmas, not just a merry one. One that focuses on its real meaning, on how much we already have, and that remembers others.
5 Tips for Christmas Contentment:
1. Focus on the true meaning.
Christmas is all about Christ coming to earth to give us his abundant life. The greatest gift ever given and the only one that can bring lasting joy and happiness.
2. Remember how much you have.
This will be a tough holiday for many this year, maybe even you. Perhaps you’ve lost your job, your house, loved ones or friends – or find youself facing a Christmas totally alone.
I hear you. I’ve been through these things and know how devasting it can be. But I’ve found that counting my blessings still helps.
If you’re facing hard times keep your eyes on the One who clothes the flowers and feeds the sparrows. He will not forget you. And when you feel you’re going under, know that even if you should sink to the bottom of the sea, you would still find yourself wrapped in his arms, even there.
If you’re facing loss, remember all the blessed times you had with those friends or loved ones. Treasure all the good the memories, which I can assure you will only grow sweeter as time goes by.
3. Understand real need.
Rather than “Dear Santa” wish lists, realize how spiritually needy we all are. Ask the Lord to help you grow spiritually, become ever more like him, and fill you with his overflowing joy! And to share the gift of his great love with others!
4. Step up your gift-giving.
“OK,” you’re thinking, “isn’t this a bit contradictory?” No, because I’m not promoting more, but better!
Give gifts that last or that really make a difference. Skip buying each other so much stuff that you don’t need, and give real necessities to someone whose life could depend on it.
And as much as pandemic restrictions allow, reach out to others. Give your time, your caring, a listening ear. Ease someone’s burden or loneliness. Even if only with video calls or Zoom. (As much Introvert Me doesn’t really like them, they can ease isolation.)
Wise and biblical giving should build lasting memories, meet real needs, or ease someone’s loneliness or heartache. That’s the real spirit of Christmas!Tweet
5. Don’t compare.
You’ll always find others who have more than you. A finer life, fewer problems, and stuff galore. But those don’t always equal true happiness or joy. So instead of concentrating on what you don’t have or would like, chase after joy, Which is usually found in the simple things of life.
From my house to yours, I wish you a very contented, joyous, and generous Christmas this year – and every year!