Yup. You read that right. What in the world can I mean in this season of giving to only RECEIVE? My last post “5 Ways to Save Money this Christmas” posed an excellent question, “What if I’m truly broke? I can’t afford to eat. How can I give this Christmas? I feel so guilty that I can’t buy gifts for the people on my Christmas list.”
Christmas should be a season of celebration. A time to spend with friends and family smiling and making memories. But that’s not always the case. This season can often times be a time of great pain.
Today, I’m going to focus on the financial side.
I’ve felt the weight of that burden. I remember the days when I was working so many hours I barely had time to sleep and I was still in a financial hole. I knew my name fell on the Christmas lists of many people out there who loved me and wanted to bless me. I know the guilt that came with not being able to repay the gifts that were about to be given to me. I desperately wanted to repay the favor so everyone can have a joyful Christmas. I was praying for a miracle that you are probably searching for right now. A financial miracle.
I’ve been there.
I struggled my way through a DIY Christmas and somehow survived on Credit Cards. Is that my answer for you?
No. My answer for you is much different.
When my daughter was born 2 weeks early via rush C-section my husband and I were in a desperate place. Our family wasn’t close they aren’t even within driving distance. We hadn’t planned for me to recover from a major surgery and try and figure out how to care for an infant all the while on major pain killers and home bound. I had appointments to go to and I couldn’t drive. I could barely walk much less feed myself or go and get those last minute items we needed for our baby to survive. I was in no way prepared for her to come early.
Every nurse that came into my room asked me, “Who is coming to help when you go home?” I would respond with “No one” and she would look at me with great concern in her eyes and say “You many want to think about that.”
The day came when we were faced with the reality that we needed help. No, we were DESPERATE for help. I have a lot of friends and I knew they would all step up but they have jobs and couldn’t offer the 24 hour care that baby and I needed. I remember the moment I sat in my hospital bed and let the desperation of the situation wash over me. I had been lying to myself. There was no way I could do this with only my husband to help. I HAD to call for more help. I HAD to ask for it and pray that someone would come.
I picked up my phone and called the first person I could think of to come and help me. (Remembering this moment still makes me burst into tears.) I called my mom. I NEEDED her to come. I needed her to break her budget and any plans she had made and come to help me. I’m VERY independent. I think the last time I called my parents for help when I couldn’t repay them immediately was probably in infancy.
I picked up my phone. Feeling guilty for the huge favor I was about to ask. I called my mom and I didn’t even need to say “”I need you.” She already knew why I was calling. She had already been looking at flights and found one she was about to buy. And she and my grandma were there the day after I got home from the hospital. This was one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever received.
A blessing you could never repay is the greatest blessing.
Why am I telling this story that has nothing to do with Christmas?
A few weeks later a wise old man and his wife (aka my parents) came again for their trip that they had scheduled months ago. My husband and I had talked about how we could repay them for their amazing generosity during this season of unexpected change. And the wise old man (my dad) said something I will never forget, “We bless you so you can bless others. Not so you can repay us.”
Wisdom bomb dropped. (And now I’m crying again.)
This Christmas, you may be a receiver and not a giver, and that’s okay. You have been blessed so you can bless others. Not so you can stretch your budget or go into debt (or further debt) to repay gifts this year you can’t afford. This isn’t an easy spot to be in, trust me I know, but this may be where you are this Christmas season. Do not rest here, but know your time will come when it is your turn to bless others. The day will come when it is your turn to be the giver. Pray for that day. Search for that day. Plan for that day. Answer the call when that day comes.
And here is my ((hug)) for you. This season will pass and happier days will come. Do your best to rest in the blessings that you have today. Focus on the reason for the season, He will get you through.
For a more practical ways to combat this situation see my post “5 Ways to Save Money this Christmas Season”