Encouragement for Today - Dec. 4, 2008


December 4, 2008


Credit Crunch or Christmas Contentment?

By Lynn Cowell


“Owe no one anything except to love one another for he who loves another
has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NKJV)



The TV blared the news: the economy is tightening and a credit crunch will definitely affect Christmas spending this year.


Credit card companies are lowering credit limits and raising interest rates. Gone are the days of zero percent interest for your first few months on a newly opened card. As I watched the news, I imagined many families would share similar concerns of mine. Will we have enough money to celebrate and give Christmas gifts? Can we be content with less than usual? Is there any possibility this could be a good thing?


Overspending during the holiday season winds up being a joy-robber. Many of us spend our December evenings and weekends searching frantically for that perfect gift or worrying over keeping everything “equal” (this is my personal worry with my three kids). The more I shop, the more I spend, and the less joyful I become. Sometimes, I find myself wishing the holidays would hurry up, get here and get over! There has got to be a better way to celebrate the birthday of Christ. Isn’t there?


Yes, there is! Romans 13:8 encourages us to owe no one anything except love. This verse brought to mind my sister’s special Christmas last year. Her family practiced the very gifts of love this verse speaks about. They all chose one family member to buy a gift for. In addition to this gift, they wrote a letter of love to the receiver. Their letters included words of encouragement and appreciation. They asked for forgiveness of past wounds and sought renewed relationship with one another.


My sister told me that reading these letters outloud before they opened gifts brought tears of love, healing, and restoration. She never gave the gifts a second thought after this wonderful experience. As the tears flowed from her family, in her heart she celebrated their best Christmas. The boxes may have been the fewest ever, but the love was the most! She was content.


My sister inspired me. How can I encourage my family to focus on spreading God’s love to each other and those we come in contact with this holiday? How can I encourage others not to “keep up with the Joneses,” but instead to “keep up” with Jesus’ idea of extravagantly given love?


How about your family as this Christmas season approaches? Is the tight economy exactly what your family needs to prompt you to rein in your traditional spending and refocus this year? I know it is for me and my family.

Dear Lord, may the tough times so many of us are experiencing financially, point us back to You. Help me hear Your voice this season and truly demonstrate what this precious holiday is all about. In Jesus’ Name. Amen


Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?


Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Sharon Jaynes


Pampering Gifts: Crafting a Ministry of Treating People Well for Less by Lara Krupicka


See Dave Ramsey’s website for sound financial advice.

Application Steps: 

Sit down with your spouse and make a strategy for staying within a budget this Christmas. Check out financial expert Dave Ramsey’s website. Follow this link and scroll down to find special savings on his “Budgeting Bundle.”


Can you plan one gift for each of your children that costs very little, but says so much about how you love them?


Sit down with your kids and set the expectation for this Christmas if it is different than what your family has experienced in the past.



What motivates me to give at Christmas more than I can afford?

What is one thing I would like to receive this year that money can’t buy? Is this something I can give to another?

Power Verses:

1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (NIV)


Proverbs 19:23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (NIV)

Job 36:11, “If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” (NIV)



© Lynn Cowell 2008. All Rights Reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105



Originally published Thursday, 04 December 2008.