November 2011 Letter

Getting ready for getting ready – only 30 thinking days before the Christmas panic.

 

When I wrote my piece on Debt for the magazines a couple of months ago, I didn’t know what sort of reaction to expect, but it has probably been one of the most talked about articles I have written.  (If you missed it or would like a copy, do email or phone me to ask.)

 

One thing that really struck me was the way one word came up time and again – Christmas.  So many people mentioned Christmas as a pressure on their finances – that they felt they were on a treadmill of spending more than they could afford and then spending what seemed like the rest of the year paying it off – just in time for the next Christmas to be looming.  And I know exactly what they meant.  Which of us hasn’t felt that feeling of panic when we realise what all the ‘have to’ gifts and other Christmas expenditure really add up to?

 

There is nothing wrong with celebrating at Christmas – believe it or not, in the Old Testament, God tells his people that they should put aside a tenth of their income at harvest time to celebrate his festivals and says ‘With the money secure in hand, go to the place that the LORD your God will choose;  spend the money for whatever you wish-- oxen, sheep, wine, strong drink, or whatever you desire. And you shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your household rejoicing together. (Deuteronomy 14:25-26)

 

That’s what Christmas ought to be like – families and friends rejoicing together and sharing the good things that God has given them.  How sad God must be that the birthday of his Son has become a financial burden to so many.  If the Three Wise Men had realized what their gift giving would lead to, they might have tucked the gold, frankincense and myrrh back in their saddlebags!

 

And that’s one reason why the great festivals of the Christian year – Easter and Christmas – were traditionally preceded by periods of austerity – Lent and Advent – to give people a chance to save up and make practical preparation for the feasting that was to follow.  The secret is in those first words of the quotation – ‘with the money secure in hand’.  God never wants us to have to go into debt, and certainly not to celebrate the birthday of a baby born in a stable!  It is social pressure that does it – but this year so many of us are in the same rocky financial boat that we should be able to do something together to stop it.

 

Why not make it a fun challenge to see how much of the Christmas spending we can squeeze out in cash from the November and December budgets?  And how far we can get rid of the Christmas ‘have to’s and spend the money we have where it really counts, in ways that will really bless our families and friends?  If we are brave enough to talk to each other about this, we may well find that others will be as relieved as we are to scale back to something more manageable. 

 

I’m going to set up a Facebook page to talk about this and other things – it would be really great to get some feedback and see if we can make this idea spread.

 

Rev’d. Karen Spray    01392 877400 church@revdkaren.org.uk


Rector's Pages
Webpage icon Rector's February 2016 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's January 2016 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's December 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's November 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's November 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's September 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's September 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's August 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's July 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's July 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's June 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's May 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's April 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's April 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's 2nd March 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's March 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's February 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's February 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's January 2015 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's December 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's December 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's November 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's October 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Associate Minister's October 2014 Letter
Webpage icon Rector's August 2014 Letter