Last week Jared and I ventured out after work one night to do a little Christmas shopping. Not just your regular 'ole shopping, but shopping for people we'd never met. Our church does one of those "giving tree" things around the holidays where they encourage people to take an ornament off the tree and help a family in need. Most of the families or individuals on the tree are in a tough spot in life and definitely don't have any extra money to spend on gifts. The gifts from others might be the only ones they get this year.
I don't talk about this to toot my own horn. In fact, I'm here to share quite the opposite. When Jared and I met up right after a long, pretty annoying, day at work I just wasn't in the Christmas spirit. I had been looking forward to shopping for this family, but once the time had come it was hard to feel excited about it. I was tired, I was hungry and after all- it's not like we have loads of extra money. We're trying to pay off our debt! We don't just have tons of extra cash, but here we are spending money on people we don't know.
What a horrible attitude right? Jared and I disagreed about what to get the family multiple times before he could tell something was up. I admitted that because of my bad day, my heart just wasn't in it that night and I felt like we were spending too much money at first. Jared, bless his soul, heard me out and spoke carefully but convincingly:
"You had a bad day, and that does stink. But you were getting paid for being there. And you had a car to get you home safely. And dinner waiting on us back at our house. And boots to keep your feet dry tonight."
My mind: Crap. He's so right.
He continued, "It may seem like a lot of money right now, but think about this family actually opening these gifts. Think about how the very simple things they asked for will help them enjoy this season a little bit more."
It's true- they asked for socks, shampoo, aftershave, a new pan, some kitchen utensils. I was humbled as I realized that the things they want for Christmas are things I take for granted. Things I can easily pick up anytime I want or "need" them. It was the reality check I needed, for sure. I was able to finish up the shopping and wrap those gifts with a joyful heart that evening. I hope you'll use my bad attitude on that night to remember the families and friends that are less fortunate than you. I hope you'll give back in some way, no matter how big or how small this year. Tis the season!