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simple christmas, Simply Living for Him

A True Gift is Never Earned

As we approach Christmas you hear so much about kids being “good” enough to earn their Christmas gifts. 

“Were you good this year?” they ask.

The child nods his head, wondering if he was really good enough to earn that toy…

As if the child must be compliant in order to earn gifts.


May I never teach my children that they are being “good” in order to get something.

Rather, may they obey out of their response to God for His FREE and undeserved gift in Jesus Christ.

There is nothing that anyone can do to earn the gift of salvation. It is free, and it is undeserved. No one can ever measure up or be good enough. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a gift, but a payment. And Jesus paid the price for our gift.

Let that Truth permeate a bit. He paid the price for our underserved gift…and what is the response? We obey…out of love...out of gratitude…because we can’t help but respond that way when we truly grasp the truth. We do not try to earn His love. We already have it. Obedience comes from love, not fear, not motivation for something…because we already have it.

Oh, my heart overflows at this truth. I pray all would know this truth at Christmas. 

So when you are out looking for gifts, remember, as the giver…did someone earn that gift? No, you are giving out of a heart of love. When you receive a gift, is it with the mindset of “Why thank you…I sure did earn this…” NO. It is of humble thanks.

That Jesus came down from Glory and suffered this human life in this fallen world…to suffer immensely…for those who did nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve it. We are humans, and certainly, can’t deserve it, otherwise we’d be equal with God. Yet, He died for us.

What a gift. An undeserved gift. May I never, ever diminish the size of that gift. The greatest gift there is. Jesus.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved


simple christmas, Simply...Living For Him

Clutter-Free Christmas

this is a repost from 2013

There is probably no other time of year where clutter really gets to be an issue than Christmastime. The decorations, gifts, crafts, cards, and all of the other extras just seem to fill our spaces even more than usual. Not to mention the mental overload that creeps in with each passing day. We see all of those ideas on Pinterest that seem so perfect. We see all of those great new resources and devotions. It seems like everyone else has such great traditions and ideas for this season. It just becomes overwhelming!

I say enough. Long ago, people celebrated Christmas with very little clutter and I am pretty sure it was just as meaningful.

More stuff does not equal more meaningful at Christmastime.

We read our Little House Christmas Treasury recently and is it weird that I sort of envied their Christmas celebration? The joy that a tin cup brought those girls was amazing. Nowadays it seems if we have more stuff, we think we will give our children more joy.

But is that what really want to teach them?
That their joy is dependent on stuff? Sure, the stuff is fun and it is extra, but our Christmas joy should not be found in anything material.

Taming the Christmas clutter for us means keeping decorations simple because, for me, they stress me out. I don’t like having to rearrange my house just to make room for more stuff and decorations. I am perfectly content to see the glowing soft white lights of our tree and have just some simple candles and greenery. We have our homemade nativity and some nostalgic decorations.

Now don’t’ get me wrong, some people love the decor. So if that is you, by all means decorate away. This isn’t a condemnation on decorations, but more of permission to not try and keep up with something that stresses you out.

If it burdens you, it’s perfectly ok to keep decor to a minimal. If you don’t want to make every Christmas cookie out there or every craft, then that is Ok.  If you don’t want to participate in the shopping frenzy because you are already financially stressed, then it is Ok.

When it comes to presents on Christmas morning, we try very hard not to give gifts just for the purpose of giving. This year we have some useful gifts, some “real-life” experience gifts, and one large family gift. Between four children, we have found that about three gifts each and stocking stuffers are more than enough. I can’t bear the thought of cluttering up our home in the name of Christmas when Jesus taught us quite the opposite.

And finally, the way we carry ourselves during this season—as Christians– means we should NOT be complaining about stress and busyness to a world that doesn’t know Christ. Christmas is all about Christ, and if we are walking around grumpy and complaining about the tasks we have to do, how long our to-do lists are, complaining about the baking and the shopping and all of the extras,  how will they want to know our Lord, Who is the reason we celebrate?

We need to be so overloaded with joy and excitement at the anticipation of our Savior, that they will want to know Him! Don’t let the busyness and clutter interfere!

Remember what this season is truly about. A Savior who has come to take away our sins and give us freedom. All of the extras in the world will not provide what He has already given us.

How are you managing to keep a clutter-free Christmas? Share in the comments.


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