On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…

Your Geevie brings to you…

The reason for the season…my favorite Christmas hymn. By one of my favorite singers. This song means so much to me that I cannot sing it without crying.

Favorite Christmas movie:

A Christmas memory:

This Christmas will probably be remembered for a long, long time. Not because of how many gifts I got or gave, but because of the fact it was a no-gift Christmas. 2009 has been a crap year where we lost our house, we lost our car, both Steven and I lost jobs. We’ve been downgraded in pretty much every way possible. We’re not doing the things that we used to because there just isn’t any real money to do it. In fact, my trip to Los Angeles in November would not have been possible had it not been for some very generous friends and family members.

We just can’t sustain the life that we used to. Ever since I lost my job at the insurance company last year, we’ve been floundering; still under the impression we could make the same decisions we used to. And we can’t.

So by the time Christmas rolled around we just let everyone know – kids included – that this year we would not be buying gifts. Especially since I got so sick close to the holidays. Missing a week’s worth of work meant we couldn’t even do Christmas dinner like I wanted.

By necessity I went from being Santa to being Scrooge.

And given the way I feel about Christmas, I figured it would be the worst Christmas ever.

It turned out to be one of the best.

I was reminded once again that Christmas isn’t about the gifts. It’s not about maxing out all the cards on “Black Friday” to give people things they don’t need. It’s not about spending $100 on dinner you have once a year. Christmas, like I said at the beginning of our journey, is a marriage of the past and the present, with hope for the future.

And, to preach for a moment, it’s reverence to a man who came to this planet – not to give us what we want when we want it, or put us under the pressure to over-please anyone else – but to bring peace and healing to a world that needed it so.

That doesn’t happen in a diamond ring or a video game.

I think the reason so many people have lost faith in the things that Jesus is supposed to represent is that we has a race somehow have always expected someone to bring us peace and goodwill. We expect to “find” it, like it’s some kind of buried treasure.

But it doesn’t work that way. Peace and goodwill should really be verbs and not nouns. If you want peace, you need to work to make that happen. Over the last 12 days I’ve listed a bunch of organizations where you can donate time or money to help make that happen for someone else. Someone whose needs are way simpler than that gift list you carry around. You don’t need to go in debt to give water to someone in Africa who will die without it, or a child in the United States who goes to bed without their most basic need of being fed going unmet.

For literally pocket change you can send a life saving net to a child in Africa, or feed an animal for one more day in the pound. Christmas is a season for miracles – and the best ones of all are the ones you can take part in. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or money to make someone’s miracle happen. Like Bill Murray says in “Scrooged”:

In twenty years, your kids aren’t going to remember that toy or game that they’ve been begging you for – trust me I know. In these last few days I have wracked my brain to try and remember enough gifts to fill up 11 blogs. I think if you go through and remember your childhood, you’d be hard pressed to remember yours as well.

What you will remember are the lessons you learned and the way that you felt. No one has to go in debt to achieve that.

It’s all been very liberating. I’ve learned more in this year that I have in all other 39 Christmases combined. I’ve learned how to give more of myself and less of my money. I’ve learned how to set reasonable expectations and the peace that comes from not overextending myself. I’ve learned what’s really important.

So this Christmas, my wish for all of you is that you create that same peace. It’s not going to happen just because a baby was born in a manger 2000 years ago. It’s going to happen because of what that child who grew to be a man taught us all. More important than money is love; your true treasure is the gift of yourself.

Love, faith and charity… these are the gifts that all of us – no matter what our financial outlook – can afford to give.

And they are the most memorable gifts of all.

So Merry Christmas everyone. May it be all that it can be.


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