Christmas: How Much Is Enough?


How much is enough?  For virtually everyone reading this, we have too much.

Of everything.

As Americans we live in the most prolific consumeristic society the world has ever known.  The push is always there for more, more, more.

But how much is enough?  Particularly in the Christmas season?

This year in our household, my wife and I agreed to deliberately buy fewer Christmas presents for our children, and ourselves.

Far fewer.

Since our children were born starting 11 years ago, we have done what most Americans do around Christmas.  By lots and lots of presents.  FAR more than are needed.

But not this year.

For the last year, I’ve been intentionally working to simplify and minimize my life, and my possessions.  So, a logical step was to simplify Christmas present giving.

At my wife’s wonderful suggestion, we are going to try a “Biblical” model for gift giving this year:  3 gifts per person, max.

I say Biblical because the idea comes from the Gospel of Matthew.  After Jesus was born, three wise men came to pay their respects to the child-Savior, and they brought with them 3 gifts:  Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  That’s where the idea of 3 comes from.

As a theological aside, there are at least two different views on the meaning of the gifts.  Some scholars believe the gifts were just common gifts of the time, without significant meaning.  Other scholars suggest the gifts held deeper meaning as to the identity of the child.  Gold was seen as a symbol of Earthly Kings; frankincense was a symbol of deity; and myrrh (which was used to treat the bodies of the dead) as a symbol of death.

In other words, Jesus was seen as having the status of a King, while also being the Son of God, and foreshadowing his death.

Nonetheless, we thought the idea of three gifts was a good one, if for no other reason than we recognize that our kids and ourselves have far, far more stuff than we need.

So, I encourage you to think about what the Christmas season means to you.  If you are a follower of Christ, it has deep religious and theological meaning.

If you don’t believe in Christianity, it still likely has significant meaning.  Love, family and giving to others.  Not a focus on ourselves, but of things more important than ourselves.

Either way, it’s about more than just buying and receiving lots and lots of gifts, most of which we don’t need anyway and likely won’t use or remember within a matter of a few weeks.

How much is enough?

Scripture link:  Matthew 2:1-12
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