Chuck Bentley on What Can I Do About Christmas Debt?

Dear Chuck,

Chuck, I have credit card debt from last Christmas and don’t see any way out of adding to it this year. I am depressed about it but can’t bring myself to deny my children a great Christmas. What can I do?

Christmas Stress

Dear Christmas Stress,

I have been in your shoes and understand the stress and the pain that you are in.

Where Does the Pressure Come From?

It’s fascinating how the world tries to convince us of the need to do more, to have more, to buy more. And yet, we’re never told those things in the Bible.

We feel guilt and unable to measure up if we don’t do what “others” are doing. But, the fact is, many of the “others” are living paycheck-to-paycheck or are on the brink of bankruptcy.

Fool.com reports that 9% of Americans are still paying off holiday debt from last year. That is sad to me because it’s just not necessary.

Can I encourage you to ignore what the world is doing? Adding to last year’s debt is only going to compound your depression! And that won’t help you or your children!

A Change of Perspective and Plans

The solution is resting in your identity and finding peace in Christ. The apostle Paul wrote:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3 ESV)

You do not have to deny your children a “great Christmas.” Just do it differently than what you might see on TV, Instagram, Facebook, friends, family and neighbors, or even the past!

Spend only what you can afford while still paying your bills. That might be $20. And that’s OK!

True gifts are an expression of the heart – not the wallet. Emphasize what’s important. Don’t complain, and don’t feel sorry for yourself. Don’t apologize for what you give. Instead, be grateful and look for God’s grace in your situation.

Make your situation known. My wife, Ann, was at a dinner last week and a woman said she was going to order a special toy for her son. Another mom said, I’ve got one in my garage that you can have. It’s still in the box! Our neighborhood has united in helping one another. It took one person expressing her need for help when she was overwhelmed with a sick husband.

My Christmas Blues Story

The year I was right where you are, my wife and I decided together that we were not going to go into debt for Christmas. We also began to pray that the Lord would give us peace to put into practice many of the tips we share below. We gave thanks for our circumstances and realized much of the stress we felt was coming from my own expectations of what I wanted to give my family. The pressure was not coming from them.

At the company Christmas party, my boss pulled me aside and said he was sorry we would not be getting a bonus that year; however, he said he had some personal outdoor gear items that he would like to pass on to me and my sons for Christmas. To my shock, he gave us four items that together were valued near $4,000. Little did he know that my sons would have never asked for these items for themselves but were on their dream list! God provided beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley