[AC] Promo 2011 - International Justice Mission from Advent Conspiracy on Vimeo.

every year as Christmas approaches i find myself stressed out, unable to sleep, and a little sad.  it is the same thing every year.  money gets tighter, the pressure to get everyone gifts they will like weighs down, and i get stressed and grumpy.  i know i am not alone.  my daddy is stressed and grumpy every holiday season, has been my whole life.  (my daddy and i are also the ones who manage finances in our households, so this may have something to with it)  travel, family meals, gifts, holiday snacks, cold weather gear, the dollar amounts add up quickly.  some years i stress myself out so much leading up to Christmas, that by the time it actually arrives, i am physically ill.  i spend Christmas day in bed fighting off whatever illness decided to creep into my body during my vulnerability. 

this year i decided to combat that.  we decided to make gifts this year, spend less.  we decided to give.  we decided we would not let Christmas turn into a marketable holiday in our house.  not this year.  then money get tighter than usual, and even our cutting down and cutting back seemed like way too much.  and this morning... it happened.  i woke up with dreams of Christmas stress haunting my wakefulness, and a pit in my stomach.

what is it about the holidays that has this effect on me, and why can i not control myself from being sucked into the lies and stress of what Christmas has become.  i know the meaning for the season.  i had full intentions of remembering and honoring the reason for the season this year, and 1 day shy of advent, i find myself being sucked in.

the truth is, i care far too much of what other people think to not allow myself to get sucked in.  won't people think our handmade gifts this year are cheap and shallow compared to the large gifts we will receive?  but we have to have a big Christmas dinner, what would everyone think if i served frozen pizza on Christmas day?  what about those traditions that drain the bank, but make us feel warm and nostalgic every year?  i like to think that i worry little about what people think of me, and most of the year i can keep to that.  Christmas is the exception.  and i hate what this worldly Christmas makes me into, but i seem helpless to it's control over me. 

can this really be?  can i be so weak that i allow my Christmas to be perverted by the world?  can i be so easily influenced that i am willing to deny my own heart and desires to fulfill what the world expects of me?  it seems so... and this makes me feel even worse.  the pit in my stomach grows with every word i write, because i know this is true.  i know that my life is being influenced by the world far more than i ever would think possible.

yesterday as i was combing the internet searching for ways i can give of myself this holiday season in an effort to keep myself on track.  i found my way to the World Vision website, where i was browsing their Gift Catalog dreaming of giving a couple of goats and chickens to a family a world away that could change their life drastically.  and then on the side bar i saw it... sweet jose's face.  tears streamed down my face when i saw his face, and thought of all i had, and all he lacked.  a sweet little boy who's parent struggle to provide for him clean water and food, and who would love to provide and education for him if it was possible.  and i clicked that button as fast as i could for fear that someone else would want to sponsor this sweet boy who just tugged on my heart strings.

and today, i am going back to look at the picture of his sweet face, knowing that i may be providing for him in ways his family wished they could.  and as advent approaches, i am going to continue to look at his face each day, and remind myself of all that i have, and all that i can give.  i am going to concentrate on my own sweet family and the huge blessing they are to me.  i am going to be diligent about reading in the word.  i am going to pray and pray and pray.  i am going to do my darndest to not let this holiday season get the best of me.  i am going to be that person i always thought i was, strong, sure, and unfailing.  i will know and remember the true meaning of this Christmas, and i will try to live it over the next 26 days.

pray for me, pray for my heart, pray for my family, as we try to abstain from the commercial Christmas that the world is asking of us, and try to focus on the cradle and the cross, and love personified.

yes this video is almost the same.  just watch them both.

[AC] Promo 2011 from Advent Conspiracy on Vimeo.

sarah anne... thank you sweet cousin.  you are always such an encouragement and support.
bridget... did you get my email?  i sent you one 1 couple of weeks ago.
gina... thank you so much, hope your thanksgiving was fantastic.


  1. Anonymous08:35

    Love this post - it speaks right to my heart. I am a planner and the one that over sees the financial stuff in our house too, so I tend to be the one stressed out during the holidays. I sent you an e-mail back - guess maybe you didn't get it. I will send you another one today.
    Hugs and Prayers,

  2. 1. not everyone needs a gift. in fact a lot of people feel crappy when they get one and have nothing in return (i am one of those people)

    2. i think a gift that took your time to make is much more exciting than the popular gift card.

    3. you have a kid. pimp him out. give out pictures of him in a cheap frame from hobby lobby. i still have every picture of my niece and nephew i get for christmas and they make me happy every time i see them. (and now i'm crying as i look at one with taylors faded hand prints on the mat)

  3. Do you see what could happen?

    Every time they get to that part...I have to hold back the tears.

    Good idea Shelby. Give pictures as gifts to many, many people!!

  4. axelle the french reader07:26

    Dar Melinda, I understand very well what you say. We're very numerous to think this way. Xmas has become a commercial celebration and almost no more a "heart celebration".
    It's not our fault : society make us become this way ... Spend, spend, spend, buy, buy, buy !!
    In france, from october, toys advertising begin !
    This year, we said stop. I don't want to raise my children in this commercial way of thinking.
    Of course, they'll have gifts, but not that much.
    I don't know in USA, but n france, toys have become VERY EXPENSIVE ! You can buy only 3 toys for 200 euros ! It's incredible.
    In this period, I use to think to all people who CAN NOT buy toys for their children. Those children who believe in Santa Claus and who hope so much to have the toy of their dream, which one coast the price of one week of food.

    In our family, we just make gift for children. That's ALL ! Adults, we eat together, we take a lot of joy to be together, it's our beautiful gifts.

    If you really want to make gift to your family, I think shelby has a great idea. You can also make some chocolate "mendiants", in beautiful little paper bag and offer them. If you want a recipe, tell me, it's VERY VERY easy, I swear !

    And for your dinner, you can also ask to everyone to come with something to eat or drink. We do that for the 1st of january.

    Xmas was and must stay a "heart celebration", as all the family celebrations;
    Don't let the look of the society have a weight on you.
    Your family, your friends love YOU, and what you' giving them in a human way. Not in a financial way.
    Very friendly,


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