check out this video:
we all want to spend less money and more time together at christmas, but it is difficult not to get swept up in the holidaze. advent ought to be a time of worship and waiting and meditation on the significance and mystery of the Incarnation, and instead we find ourselves too busy with shopping, planning, and traveling to be still even a moment.
the tricksy part of the whole "buy less/give more" thing is that it's just not all that consistent if say i want an ipod for christmas and then i get you a goat for a family in uganda, you know? in light of that, i want to let my family know that there is nothing i need this christmas. if you've already picked out something for me, thanks! i certainly don't want to come down against gift-exchanging--there can be so much joy in it.
but, if like my mom, you haven't already been shopping, please don't sweat it! while i love pretty things as much as the next girl, i already have more than i need, and this christmas i also want to remember those who lack basic food, shelter, health care, and clean water. seriously, give what you would have spent to someone who could really use it, and let's do something simple together. i live too far away from most everyone i love, and the only thing i need is time with you. that, and the discipline to be still this advent, receptive like mary to the working of the Holy Spirit:
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
Let the Word, I pray, be to me not as a word spoken to pass away, but conceived and clothed in flesh, not in air, that he may remain with us. Let him be, not only to be heard with the ears, but to be seen with the eyes, touched with the hands and borne on the shoulders. Let the Word be to me not as a word written and silent, but incarnate and living...I desire that he may be formed, not as the word in preaching, not as a sign in figures, or as a vision in dreams, but silently inspired, personally incarnated, found in the body, in my body...let it be done unto me, according to your word. --Bernard of Clairvaux