Sometimes shopping at Christmas time is a lot of fun; sometimes it's the worst chore of the season. From my point of view, it takes a lot of planning, time, and shopping savvy. With 7 children, it's a daunting challenge. I try to find special gifts at good prices and keep our giving as even as possible. I shop early and stay late. I wait in long lines, wrestle with the crowds and drink plenty of coffee.
I've found a secret to changing this activity from a chore into a great time. Firstly, I remind myself that I'm loving my children well by giving them gifts. I'm blessing my extended family by giving them time (spent shopping), attention (carefully selecting items) and giving a gift. In the midst of the heightened activity of the Christmas season, it's easy to forget the "reason for the season."
Secondly, I pray before, during and after my shopping trips. I ask the Lord for extra help in finding just the right gifts at just the right prices. Like many other families, we live on a limited budget and I don't have extra money to throw away on dumb gifts. That would be wasteful. So I pray and ask for divine wisdom. Then, as I'm shopping I keep "praying in the spirit." I don't want to participate in the hectic-ness of the Mall, so I do my best to stay focused on the Lord.
The result: a great time finding just the right gifts for my family and enjoying the presence of the Lord.