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Budget Crunched Christmas

I was a sophomore in high school when my 37 year-old dad had open-heart surgery. Surrendering to Jesus had transformed his life, but his heart struggled to pump through the deposits left after years of abuse. I’ll never forget that day in May 1977. It snowed…more than a foot…in May!

My Great Aunt, Lucille, had travelled from Iowa to help out. She wasn’t familiar with our house and when she opened the door to the basement rather than the restroom, her frail body fell down a long flight of stairs. On that day in May, with more than a foot of snow on the ground, my dad was having heart surgery in Denver and my aunt was in the Boulder hospital with multiple injuries. Although our family hadn’t been walking with Jesus very long, we marveled at the peace He gave us in the midst of the storm.

Both dad and Aunt Lucille recovered, but our storm wasn’t over. The doctors told dad not to work for three months! As a self-employed dentist, this news not only had implications for his family, but his employees as well! When the dentist can’t work, the money doesn’t come in. He refused to let his employees go knowing they needed the paycheck as much as he did. For three months he paid the bills, paid his employees, and fed his family. It took everything he had to do it. He began seeing patients again in August, but the financial deficit was huge. When Christmas came, there was nothing extra for presents.

My parents turned a disappointing reality into a treasured Christmas memory. They helped us focus on the many things we had to be thankful for. A father who was still alive and well, was at the top of the list! They helped us make Christmas presents for each other and our friends. They slowed down the pace and focused on family. It was one of my best Christmases ever!

If you’re feeling the financial crunch this year, I hope you’ll embrace the opportunity to let God give you the best Christmas ever. Don’t let the enemy rob you and your family of Christmas joy just because there may not be as many presents under the tree! Brad and I are asking God for wisdom and guidance to help our family enjoy the Christmas celebration more deeply than ever before, even though the budget won’t allow for many monetary gifts. We’re excited about the challenge and the opportunity to see God work!

If you have ideas for creating treasured Christmas memories, I hope you’ll share them with all of us!

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