It hardly seemed possible. After 13 moves in 15 years and much fervent prayer, we finally purchased our first house. True, we'd barely squeaked into our humble home in the escalating California economy, but this house was something to call our own.
Finally, we had somewhere to put down roots, somewhere to actually plant all those Mother's Day roses that had followed us around, house after house, year after year, in their cramped mismatched pots.
And Christmas was coming! Walking into each house we rented over the years one of my first thoughts was always, Where will we put the Christmas tree? I loved celebrating Christmas! Nevertheless, deflated by the temporary nature of our stay in each rental, we'd never purchased Christmas lights to hang outside or a wreath for the door.
Finances were tight that first Christmas in our new home, and I made a commitment to God to joyfully make the most of our limited resources. As I scrambled and scraped to personalize it for the holidays, I longed to splurge on one thing—a wreath for the front door. It was our way of hanging out a shingle to say, we live here; we aren't just passing through.
While out grocery shopping one afternoon, I saw the perfect wreath. As I picked it up to admire it, my pledge to faithful, careful stewardship rose in my mind, as did a phrase from Hebrews 13:5—Be content with what you have. Holding the wreath, I weighed its symbolic significance against the pressing value of 12 dollars in our strained finances. Although it was inexpensive, I just didn't have the cash to buy it. Suppressing the inner rumblings of discouragement, I set the wreath down and purposefully walked away.1