It’s that time of year again! For forty-five days as a nation, we collectively celebrate several holidays beginning with Thanksgiving and usually ending on New Year’s Day. Of course, sandwiched between both is Christmas, my personal favorite of the holiday season.
The age-old tradition of Black Friday has now merged into Thanksgiving Day and doesn’t end until Cyber Monday. Retailers are now waving sale prices in our faces to entice us to enter the “frenzy” of the holiday season. Everywhere we turn billions of dollars are spent on advertisements urging us to buy stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have.
So, how does a wise person manage financial maturity while aggressive marketing is targeted at influencing their purchasing decisions? One does this by recognizing the world slowly shapes views and values by its standard instead of God’s values and guidelines regarding personal finances. Paul shares with us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Rom. 12:2 NIV
Paul is encouraging the church to wake up and realize what the world offers is distinctly different from God’s plan. We must transform our minds by embracing and exercising God’s truth in regard to our life and finances in order to live our lives according to his will.
I encourage you as you enter into this holiday season to change your perspective and manage your money wisely by giving something tremendously valuable to others – yourself. To help redirect our seasonal thinking I have included four examples of FREE gifts that keep on giving.
The gift of FRIENDSHIP
Life truly is measured by the quality of friendships we make during our lifetime. We understand to cultivate and maintain deep meaningful relationships, one must nurture these relationships. Identify someone during this season and be intentional in growing a lasting friendship.
The gift of ENCOURAGEMENT
Encouragement can be as simple as verbally acknowledging someone as a good ambassador, friend, neighbor, or parent. It could include inviting someone to coffee who is going through a difficult time too. Our words are powerful and can be impactful to the people God places in our paths.
The gift of AFFIRMATION
Affirmation is one gift often ignored in most families. It is important to verbalize to your family members (father, mother, son, daughter, etc.) how important they are in your life. Make sure they know you appreciate them and are proud of them. Whether it is a parent affirming a child or a child affirming a parent, extending this blessing will have a meaningful impact on the entire family.
The gift of LOVE
In my eyes, this is what the Holiday Season is truly about. Reach out often through your words and actions and express your love to the people around you. Let it be sacrificial and unconditional as it is the same kind of love given freely to everyone by a boy in a manger over 2000 years ago.
This Thanksgiving, be thankful for the provisions you have received. Measure the financial progress you have made this year and continue to be disciplined as you enter this holiday season. Start new traditions as you become a more faithful steward. Remember, the real joy of the season is experienced with family and friends through giving gifts of friendship, encouragement, affirmation, and love.
Keep in mind, through the stresses and demands the holiday season can bring, the true reason for the season: A tiny baby in a manger created by God to offer hope and salvation for all who believe. This Season, may you receive the hope of God who is in control of it all including your finances.
Guy Hatcher – known as The Legacy Guy – has spent his lifetime helping families plan their legacy. His new book, Your Future Reflection: How to Leave a Legacy Beyond Money, is now available at amazon.com. Follow him on twitter @guyhatcher or go to www.guyhatcher.com.