Being Missional on Black Friday and Christmas

My safe bet of the year: The holiday season will fly by. 

We'll rush around, and we'll strain to fit in all the errands, shopping, and visiting we want to do. And come January, we'll wonder how the holidays zoomed past us.

I'm definitely putting myself in this same category. So, I want to encourage you (and myself) to slow down and be intentional this season, from Thanksgiving to Black Friday to Christmas (and if you are in the Espinosa family, you also have 3 birthdays and an anniversary to thrown in there).

Want to join me? Here are some articles that have me thinking along these lines, and I hope they'll inspire you, too.

When Black Friday Becomes a Mission
Among Christian circles, you either feel like bashing Black Friday or joining in the fun. Jon Bloom gives us a better option: redeem it by approaching it with a God-centered mindset. Particularly, he encourages us to:
  1. Make it generous. "Loving generosity is a beautiful thing, and God loves it if it is fueled by faith." 
  2. Make it restrained.  First give to the poor, and do not go into debt.
  3. Make it about Jesus.  "Make Black Friday about more than shopping. Make it a kingdom mission." And I love this idea, "Bless the harried cashier."  

The Christmas Conundrum
The general standard my wife and I have followed is an idea we got from the couple that did our premarital counseling: Buy each of the children one small, personal gift, and then buy a bigger thing for them all to enjoy. As our children have gotten older, we've altered "the big thing" to be an experience that we all get to enjoy, such as some sort of mini-vacation (this was an idea from another mentor years ago).

Along these lines, Jen Hatmaker wrote a long post, in which she explains (among other things) five categories of gifts their children receive. It's another idea worth your consideration:
  1. Something you want
  2. Something you need
  3. Something to wear 
  4. Something to read
  5. Something to give 

3 Gifts to Give Your Kids This Christmas  
Not the same type of gifts I've just been talking about. John Murchison reminds of these very important things that our children really need:
  1. The gift of yourself 
  2. The gift of giving  
  3. The gift of knowing God
Above all else, will you give your children these gifts over the next month?

What We Get Wrong About Gift Giving    
Challenging words from Dorothy Greco:
"I was confronted with the reality that I did sometimes buy gifts for the wrong reasons. As any of you who are parents or caregivers know, raising kids has a tendency to uncover our insecurities. . . . Without being aware of it, I bought to assuage my fear and feelings of inadequacy."  

And for good measure, a couple of articles from this blog along these same lines:

**image courtesy of TACLUDA via

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