Q: Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to overspend at Christmas, and then I end up spending more than I did the previous year. I’m on a fixed income and can’t really afford this. I know this isn’t a spiritual question, but what do you suggest I do? — V.P.
A: Today — the first day after Thanksgiving — is almost always one of the busiest shopping days of the year. In fact, your newspaper today is probably overflowing with ads touting endless bargains!
And those bargains can be tempting (and it’s not necessarily wrong to take advantage of a true bargain). The danger (as you know) is that you might end up spending more than you should. How can you prevent this? The best way is to plan so you don’t overspend. Decide how much you can spend, then write down the name of everyone on your gift list. Then decide how much you will spend on each person, and don’t exceed it. The Bible says, “The prudent give thought to their steps” (Proverbs 14:15).
Never forget: Everything we have comes from God, including our money. That’s why money is actually a very spiritual issue, because God wants us to use it wisely and well. As you think about your gifts, ask God what he would have you do to help others also. Many nonprofit organizations and ministries depend on generous year-end gifts to continue their good work.
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As a footnote, have you ever thought about why we give gifts at Christmas? We’ve almost lost sight of the real reason, I’m afraid, but every gift we give should remind us of the greatest gift of all: the gift of God’s own Son for our salvation. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.