“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year as the old song by Andy Williams goes. For the believer in Jesus Christ this, along with Easter, should be the most meaningful holiday we celebrate. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and the beginning of the greatest gift in human history given by God the Father! However, many believers and non-believers alike allow consumerism and materialism to take first priority resulting in overspending, stress, and excessive debt going into the following year.

How can you avoid the financial traps and make this Christmas season one focused on Christ?

First, write down everyone you expect to buy a gift. Along with their names, write down an approximate amount that you want to spend on them. Continue to add to this list over several days until your list is complete.

Second, consider how you can give to another person or family that may not be able to afford a Christmas. Ask your church, school or city government if they know of families who may not have quite as much. Perhaps you can go in with another family or two and contribute to make someone’s Christmas special not only with gifts but, most of all, with Christ’s love.

Third, determine where the money will come from for your Christmas and for the needy. Consider at your next payday to set aside cash in an envelope that you will use so you do not spend it on other less important items. You may need to do this for several pay periods to have enough. If you determine you do not have enough to set aside, you may need to go back and either reduce the amount of money you will give to each person or reduce the number of people you plan to give to.

Fourth, when you venture out to the stores and shopping malls, bring your list with the names of those you plan to give to, the amount you want to spend and make a commitment to stay within your limits. Shopping as early in December as possible will take the pressure off you so you do not feel you need to rush as Christmas approaches.

Lastly, if you have historically overspent at Christmas using a credit card, commit to using no credit cards this year. When you commit to avoiding the use of credit or store cards, you can always find creative ways to either find special items for less or even make Christmas gifts that mean even more to the recipient.

If you make a conscious decision now to these steps, you will experience Christmas as a wonderful time of the year as well as less stress in the new year!

By William “Carey” Northington

William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at www.OneMaster.org.