When your budget won't let you give gifts to everyone in the world—which is always, by the way—who should you give...
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You know what we love about Christmas?
Isn’t Christmas stress awesome? It seems to be as much a part of the holiday season as caroling, fruitcake and peppermint mocha. Who doesn’t love a nice, warm peppermint mocha with a side of frantic holiday stress?
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So why do we let holiday stress get in the way of the real meaning of Christmas every year? Sadly, a lot of things about Christmas have been lost in translation.
We emphasize a ton of Christmas rituals and traditions that have nothing at all to do with the reason we celebrate in the first place. In fact, it seems like we think these traditions are “commandments” straight from the Bible—like we couldn’t celebrate Christmas, or God would be disappointed, if we didn’t manage to follow these rituals to a T.
What exactly are we talking about?
Here are your six commandments for a stressed-out Christmas.
“Thou shalt spend an entire day shopping at the mall.”
Surprisingly, Macy’s is mentioned nowhere in the gospels—not even in The Message version.
“Thou shalt celebrate My birth by accumulating debt.”
Jesus never said it. But, man, during the Christmas season many people could decorate their Christmas tree with all the credit cards they use.
“Thou shalt wear yourself out trying to see 84 family members in three days.”
Of course, Jesus wants us to be close to our family. But the emphasis we place on making sure we see everyone we can during the course of a few days? Don’t think He said anything about that. Usually, it’s just counterproductive, and it takes a physical and emotional toll on our own little family.
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“Thou shalt single-handedly eat five pounds of turkey, ham and cranberry sauce at each meal.”
Enjoy the food, but don’t make yourself sick. What exactly are you celebrating when you eat 4,000 calories in eight hours? Intestinal distress?
“Thou shalt spend $100 to kill a tree and put it in your living room.”
Hopefully you’re not shocked that this isn’t in the Bible. The point is that it’s just a tree, and you’ll be removing it from your house like a dead mouse four weeks from now. Maybe you could save some money by buying a cheaper artificial tree and using it for the next five or six years?
“Thou shalt attend every social gathering you’re invited to.”
Jesus was okay with saying no. You can’t do everything, and you don’t have to do everything. If you find yourself in this dilemma, pick one party. Spend the rest of the time with your family and close friends. That’s really what Christmas is about.
We realize Jesus never said anything about Christmas since the holiday didn’t exist when He was alive. The point here is to avoid getting lost in all the distractions of the holiday season and focus on what all the giving and the socializing is about in the first place.
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