Posted by: Matt Rice | 01/11/2009

Reflections from Christmas

WOW – the madness is now over. The gifts are given and the bills are paid or maybe coming in…which is the case for you? I am wondering if you got what you wanted, took back what you didn’t, stayed within your budget, and most of all stayed focused on Christ?

Here are some reflections/challenges we learned this year I want to pass on. Some are serious and some are not.

1.    Set a Budget and Make Lists– The madness is still the same in this “failing economy.” It is addicting and tempting to watch TV and see what is out there and what you think you need. The goal is to set boundaries and make lists before you got out to shop. You will always spend too much for something you think you need. My wife and I got a Wii for Christmas for the whole family. This was our present to each other and the kids. However, when I went to get her stocking at Target (toothbrush, deodorant, soap, small make-up bag) I ended up spending $80. What was I thinking? The error in this is I got some unexpected money for Christmas, waited too late, and went crazy.


2.    Community Musicals – In our community there were several churches doing musicals. It was great as a church planter to take advantage of these with the family. We went to a great musical, a live nativity, and Christmas caroling with a hayride. This created great excitement among the kids.



3.    Cookies with the family – My wife ROCKS!! She bought some cookies, icing, pretzels, and M&M’s for reindeer cookies. We (the whole family) each had a job in the cookie making assembly line. This was simple and provided quality time with the family.



4.    Serve those with and without – My Huddle Group got the name of a needy family at my son’s school. We bought them some gifts. We had the honor of telling Andrew what we were doing and he bought into this full force. We wrapped up the presents and he brought them to school to give to the teacher. What a great lesson for us as a family. Also, my church gave out Starbucks gift cards and Chick-Fil-A calendars for all teachers at the school we rent out on Sundays. It was incredible.


5.    3 Presents – My wife implemented a rule in our family. We refer to it as the 3 present rule or the wise man rule. The wise men came with three gifts.  We also give the kids 3 gifts and spend the same amount on each. It has launched us into a very focused celebration with constant reminders.



6.    My wife – My wife is the most beautiful person inside….(as I tell my daughter – gorgeous on the inside makes you gorgeous on the outside)  She radiates Christ and strives hard to keep our celebration on Christ with the gifts, cookies, musicals and parties.  She is the greatest partner in raising kids, loving Christ, building the Kingdom, and keeping Christ central at Christmas.

Remember what you did well this year and take notes on where you fell short. Above all, remember the God of this great creation invites you to be a part of something much bigger than yourself this year. You may be thinking about what you could have done this Christmas or should have done. I encourage you to think of 2009 as the year YOU DID.

Remember, you can because… CHRIST IS.


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