Sometimes I have a revelatory moment. In the point too late in the season to do much about it, I’ve decided to revamp how I handle Christmas and I’ve decided to take more of a three day weekend (Cursillo, Kairos, etc.) approach to it.
Being supposedly too busy, I’ve abandoned sending Christmas cards, you know, the ones with the cute pictures of the kids on them or the letter you write to all your friends to tell them how you are doing. The office handles those professional cards I need to send. But, next year, I am going to hand write letters to friends and family far away, just simply telling them I am praying for them during the Christmas season.
Next, I’m no longer buying frivolous gift shoppy type presents. Most are pretty cheap and useless. I am now only going to buy stuff that people really need or will find at least very useful, with an aim toward use on a day to day basis, or, in keeping with the three wise men, at least something they will use at some point in their lives. I have already done this for this Christmas, and I feel very good about the gifts I have gotten family and friends. It also seems to me that, during hard economic times, this is probably a good approach for the giver and the receiver of the gifts.
Christmas, it seems to me, is about how Jesus Christ came to earth to redeem the fallen creation of God, and to give people something they really needed – salvation and forgiveness. I am going to try to give things people need this Christmas.
On the downside of things, my usual Saturday before Christmas service project is out the window. For the last twelve years, I’ve delivered food to shut ins from the Shepherd Center here in town. This year, the staff handled the deliveries during working hours. I did take the gifts we bought and the food my parents bought for the family we adopted for Christmas to the Shepherd Center yesterday morning before work, but it just isn’t the same as delivering them in person. I realize that the receivers of these gifts may have been made uncomfortable by the presence of strangers, and that Christmas, to be Christ like, has to be far more about my giving than about me getting warm fuzzies because I gave. However, the deliveries I used to do also gave me a sense of thankfulness and some much needed perspective during the season of buying two tons of crap from Wal-Mart and the mall. I am glad to reflect on this and remember, and I was glad at least my oldest child, Sarah, got to go with me last year. It was indeed eye opening for her.
I had the most insane week last week. I still can’t describe the mayhem of what occurred in my law practice. I’m over it now, I feel okay, but wow. I went to be at 9 p.m. last night and woke up at 8 a.m. I was definitely tired. I do have to go into work today and meet a client to file a Chapter 11 case, the second this month. After Christmas, the Chapter 11 filings will be much worse. The two cases I am filing now would have waited until after the new year, but the lenders forced the issue. I’m still drowning in other work as well.
The Wal-Mart in town sold gas yesterday for $1.19 a gallon. I was happy to fill up for $1.32 (with my Kroger 10 cent discount) on Thursday; it took $21.50 to fill my empty Camry. The Wal-Mart started out at $1.29 a gallon yesterday morning and then dropped another 10 cents in the afternoon. I don’t get it. I don’t know if it was some sort of thank you for spending every last dime you have at Wal-Mart and here is some gas to get home, or what.
As of today, Carrie and I have only two gifts left to get, that being for a dirty Santa deal we’re doing with the folks in our generation of the family. It has to be forty dollars per gift to achieve an ideal of “gifts that don’t suck” per the pre-agreed upon rules. It is nice not to be totally stressed out. The firm gave us our Christmas bonuses on Monday, which made shopping something that happened over the course of a week rather than a one day deal. Much better. Next year, of course, since I’ll be a partner, I won’t get a “bonus” until after Christmas, so 2009 will mean planning ahead and saving for Christmas. It should be interesting.