I have never been one who needs a lot of Christmas gifts or many things in general. Christmas gift-giving took on a whole new meaning, however, when I started celebrating it with kids.
I have a 21-month-old little boy who is at a super-fun stage in life. Everything is new and exciting. He is starting to recognize objects, shapes, and colors, and he is learning what he likes and what he doesn’t like. As his mom, I love giving him gifts! We are currently quarantined at home for a few weeks because of a COVID exposure. It is the worst week for this to have happened. All of the Cyber Monday sales (which are really Cyber Week sales), a mom with way too much time on her hands, and a pretty tight budget.
A few times, I’ve caught myself putting things in online shopping carts and feeling frustrated that I had to take the items out of the cart, knowing that the wise thing to do is wait on that purchase (or possibly never purchase it) rather than using credit cards or savings.
Then, I sit back and watch my little boy run through the house, bouncing happily from one toy to the next. And suddenly, I realize that the discontentment is not his. It is mine. He is perfectly happy with everything he already has. He has no idea that Christmas is coming or that Christmas is a time when people exchange gifts. He has no idea that there are toys out there that he doesn’t already have or that he might enjoy. He is perfectly content.
Even as I try to write this, he has come to me no less than five times in the last 20 minutes to show me toys that he is excited about, toys that I bought him and have seen a thousand times.
There is such value in contentment, such peace and joy in it.
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied…
— Proverbs 19:23
Other translations read, “rest content.”
My desire to give good gifts to my kid stole my focus and robbed me of the contentment that he is daily enjoying. When I stop and refocus on the reason for this season (JESUS!), open my Bible, turn on some worship music, and consider how incredibly blessed we are, the feeling of discontentment dissipates instantly and is replaced with overwhelming gratitude!
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
— 1 Timothy 6:6–7
I love that reminder. It is true. The peace that comes with contentment far surpasses the stress that comes from overspending and incurring debt at the holidays. When I step back and reprioritize, I suddenly find myself far more consumed with enjoying every moment I can with my little boy during our time at home together, instead of pursuing the best deals on new toys for him. The unexpected time at home that we have together right now, assuming we both continue to stay healthy, may turn out to be the best Christmas gift either of us could receive.