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Studies show that people experience more financial stress at Christmas time than they do at tax time. I can understand this. Still, it should not be so.

Our nation, the United States, loves to celebrate holidays. Let's see, we have New Years Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; President's Day; Valentines Day; St. Patrick's Day; Easter; Mother's Day; Memorial Day; Father's Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Halloween; Thanksgiving and Christmas. Did I miss any?

On many of these holidays, items have to be bought and exchanged as we participate in the giving and receiving that is a major part of our culture. (Don't forget birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, and everything else in between.)

Giving gifts is a major part of our culture and has come to be expected. And where there are expectations, there are pressures.

From My Point Of View…
If I can be personal for a minute, let me tell you that I really feel this pressure. My wife loves the holidays and she loves to be a blessing. She really sets a high standard. In my house when it comes to her, there are no holidays; there are simply "holi-weeks" and "holi-weekends."

It isn't Valentine's Day, it's Valentine's weekend. Her birthday is April 14, and for an entrepreneur such as myself, this can be dicey. And don't forget, it's not a birthday, it's a birth-week! Mother's Day becomes—you guessed it, Mother's weekend. Our anniversary doesn't just include the day that we were married, but the day we met, our first date, the day we became engaged, and so on….

I took this to the Lord in prayer a number of years ago. I couldn't understand this. I really thought that our priorities were out of whack. Of course, I was complaining about my personal responsibilities and the traditions that were being formed in my family. I really wasn't complaining about all of the national holidays. I think you understand.

But in the middle of my complaining about birthday week, He stopped me. "Dan, stop" He said. "Your wife is my daughter. I want to bless her everyday. I want to use you to bless her every day. If you don't understand that my very nature is to give gifts and bestow blessings, then you don't understand much. Make giving your lifestyle. Make blessing your lifestyle. When you arrive at this place, there will be no pressure to give. It will be as natural as breathing. As it is now, you have to go out of your way to give. Strive to make it part of your daily thought process."

After that I could have swore He said, "Now stop complaining you ingrate and go get your wife something amazing for her birthday!" but I don't think He said that. Either way, I got the point.

Let's use our faith this Christmas. He is the provider and He can provide for us when we trust Him. If we will pray first and then obey, He will guide us to His prosperity and His wisdom. In this place, we will find peace as we purchase the gifts that God places on our hearts for our loved ones.

And instead of putting pressure on yourself, put the pressure on the Word. God can handle it.

Faith Exchange Fellowship
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Dan Stratton
Web site: Faith Exchange
 
Dan Stratton has been a member of the Wall Street community since 1981, first as a Yale-educated businessman with exceptional acumen, and today as a pastor and entrepreneur with a vision for using the Marketplace to unite the Body of Christ. Stratton’s oratorical style is straightforward, a coach in the half-time locker room, with the Bible as his game plan. Occasionally he lightens the mood by poking fun at himself and then showing the congregation his technique.
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