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Yesterday, I stood in a children’s store looking at the beautiful clothing and cute outfits and started to think of the children I know and love. I walked around a few other stores for other gift ideas. I found things within my price range. But the conclusion of my mini-spree is this: It’s Christmas: the time when my heart is bigger than my bank account. I love to give but this year the budget is smaller than usual and I’ve had a few days of counting pennies. Ironically, I am planning a Grinch party and have been reminded of the words, “Christmas doesn’t come from a store; maybe it is something more”.

Christmas on a budget. I have to say, I’ve done really well. I’ve researched ideas to make this Christmas special on a low budget. And I’m doing it. Christmas doesn’t come from a store – but the laughter and joy from hosting a few parties and giving what I can to neighbours and family and friends will happen and my heart is warmed by this. Christmas in my family growing up was always a big extravaganza – I have yet to meet someone who does Christmas anything like what we had. There was so much generosity shown at Christmas – so many presents under the tree. I recently read an article that was called something like Doing Christmas on a Shoestring budget of less than $250. I laughed – seriously? Yes, seriously – I have done that.

I’m not bragging. It’s been a necessity. I don’t even have a credit card to pretend that I have something more to give than what I have. I’ve had to be frugal as groceries need to be bought and bills paid. Today, I had a moment of wondering if I could really handle hospitality on my budget – and for the first time in a what seems like a long time, my stomach felt the worry of money.

And then I felt God say to me: “Elizabeth, have I ever left you stranded?”

I’ve been out of work. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been in need. And somehow, God provides. Always. I’ve never slept in a shelter and I’ve never gone to a foodbank. I’m thankful for these services and thankful that I haven’t had to use them. I admit a little pride, though I do not think less of my friends who have or still need to use them. I think that speaks to God’s provision in my life. I have been very close to needing both. And not just once. Yet, God always seems to provide. Sometimes in the very last possible moment. Always in more ways than I have asked or imagine.

I received a letter today from a rather unexpected source with a Christmas gift of money.

I have known poverty; but I also know God’s providence.

  1. John Sullivan
    December 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    A Blessed Christmas to you Elizabeth!

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