christmas gifts on a budget

The post-by-date to get things to Canada came way too quickly this year. I saw it as I zoomed past on my way towards dreams. I was traveling too fast to slow down. For the first time, online gifts that someone else would package and post seemed like one of the best inventions ever. What a different story from a few years ago when our family decided to share gifts that were handmade or pre-loved. The most memorable gifts for me don’t have a price tag attached to them though. They have a person. Regardless of how much money is in the bank there are ways to give meaningful gifts that will have a longer lasting effect than a package from Amazon. Suddenly I feel very rich! Rich enough to give to more people then I could have imagined over the season. Here are the gifts that I can afford:

1. Gifts from my talents – My hoover sits out in my hall … it has been for a week! I keep waiting for a down time when my kitchen or sewing room (a.k.a. office, living room, spare bedroom, dining room) doesn’t have a project actively underway. The things that I produce in those two places are the gifts of my talents. My hands are busy making something to give or to share with others. They are my workshops. These usually still cost money for materials but are far less money because I put in the labour.

2. Gifts from my heart – We have a Christkindl (white elephant) gift exchange planned for a Christmas-Hannukah celebration I will be at a couple days after arriving in Zurich for the holidays. It is also in celebration of a mother and friend who passed away a couple of years ago. We are limited to how much money we are allowed to spend but we are to buy something that reminds us of her. The gifts we give will be gifts from the heart – something that stirs up emotion because of the relationship we had and the relationships we still have with the people who will be in that room.

3. Gifts from the Spirit – All of who Christ is in me. All that he has placed in me, mined out and polished to bring blessing to others. These are the gifts from the Spirit. They generally don’t cost me anything except the vulnerability of giving them as a gift. They are accepted and possessed in places even deeper then we could imagine and shape not only how we feel but our entire view of ourselves and the world. They are fully infused with the most pure essence of love because they come from Love.

There are no receipts attached to these that will work for a refund. The price is far too high because pieces of us are in these gifts. They can’t come from Santa Clause or any other magical gift giver from any other tradition. We can’t measure if someone spent the same amount on us. They are gifts that are given because we love. 2013-12-22 15.35.34-2

the art heart in me

Somewhere deep in the microscopic world of you and me there are secrets about the world that haven’t been told. Spiritual residue sits in wait for a trigger to release a new creation of imagination – stories of what is here and what is yet to come.

It is the art heart. It is that image of God perfection that gives flesh to the questions. It is possibility and reality muddied into an undefinable colour. It speaks a truth not yet understood. With the first exhale there is a cry: “Creator!”

Subdued it finds its proper place of style and expression. Released but tamed it finds an outlet. All the while it knows this world is not its home. We are strangers here wading through foreign objects to our soul. Channel inspiration. Give it substance. But still it beats … there must … be more … there is … much more.

Creator. That is what we have become, living as impressionists of the first. His breath gave it life. The artist, the prophet, the mystic – describe to us what we cannot see. Tell us what could be.

This. This is the art heart in me.

the art heart

come mother heart of the city

Come mother heart of the city

Throw off the depression that weighed you down

Open your eyes to see your children

They long to have you nurture them back to life


Remember your dreams of a better future

Where children ran free with smiles on their faces


Remember the hopes of owning a land

Where you could determine how your children grew up


Come mother heart of the city

Find your home around God’s table again

Listen to the beat of his Kingdom come

You are the song keeper – holding, interpreting


Come mother heart of the city

Reach out to the brokenhearted

Open your arms to welcome the stranger

Compel the city to your unity, to your hope


Come mother heart of the city

Find your healing here