So as many of you know, Mike & I attend Church. We go as often as we can, which means most Sunday's with the occasional week off to do something else. I won't lie, some weeks it is especially boring. But we chose this Church (which is like a15 minute drive north of us) because the pastor(s) tend to have more interesting sermons, and the whole Church in general is pretty family-oriented. The Mom's group I attend is also Church-based and I enjoy going to that.
Anyway, every once in a while the sermon hits a chord with me. This Sunday (19th) would be one of them (and incidentally, you can listen to it here once it is up!). The pastor spoke about gift giving at Christmas-time. He started out by recounting an npr story about the perceived worth of a gift vs. what was actually paid for it. His example was some "all-natural" chapstick his mom insists on buying for him every year. It probably costs her $7 but he likes the regular $0.75 chapstick you can buy at the market better, so the "lost cost" of that chapstick is $6.25. If you add this up over every gift given over the Christmas season, we could solve the country's budget crisis!
So then he suggested that why do we feel the need to spend more money? If you look at the life of Jesus, he never gave "things", he always gave his time and talents instead. Why don't we do the same? Give a "coupon" to your spouse offering to watch the kids while they go out and do something for themselves. Give a harried couple an overnight without their kids to give them a chance to reboot and recenter themselves. Offer a picnic in the local park with your neighbor to get to know them better. The best thing you can give people is your time!
So I'm sitting there nodding and thinking these are great ideas! And I'm coming up with some of my own, when I suddenly realize... it's the WEEKEND BEFORE Christmas, and I have all my shopping done already! ARGH. This is something I could have used YESTERDAY!