The answer to that question could determine the success or failure of your Christmas experience. As a parent, the question is: What do we really want for Christmas? Don’t we want something that will last on into generations to come? Something powered by more than batteries. I have never heard anyone say, “We have a great family tradition of giving each other video games for Christmas. It’s been an awesome part of our Christmas for generations. It’s what brings us back home each year.”
There are many things we could get for our family members – items that will not have an impact on the development of a mind and heart. Gifts that won’t start traditions that help define who we are. Commercials are cranking up to attempt to make us believe their toy or piece of jewelry will change the whole atmosphere in your family. Get the right toy for your child and you’ll be living a re-enactment of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
There’s nothing wrong with giving toys to your children, but Christmas is about so much more than toys and games. A family’s personal celebration of Christmas plays a part in defining who they are and Whose they are.
Finding the right gift for your family at Christmas begins by going to the “right catalogue”…actually to the Producer of the right catalogue. Spend the beginning of this month asking God what the family needs to receive this Christmas. He has promised that If you seek His will, He will give you the desire of your heart (Psalm 20:4). That doesn’t mean God will give you what you have been marketed to desire; it means, if you ask Him, He will plant His perfect desire in your heart …and thus your family.
This Christmas season spend time seeking the gift He wants to give your family. Chances are He has a richer experience for you rather than a toy or trinket.
The things I remember about the early years of Christmas were the times we did things for other people. The years my children were in elementary school, we made cookies, boxed them decoratively and delivered them to people in our neighborhood. I remember being embarrassed by the fact that I was the only one nervous about singing, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” As we arrived at the door of our neighbor I was sweating…and it was sixty degrees.
When she opened the door to receive our cookies and listen to our song, she began to wipe tears from her eyes. She apparently knew we were delivering cookies and singing, but she thought we would skip her because she was Jewish. This particular delivery was the highlight of our Christmas. That moment will be etched in my memory and the memories of my children forever, certainly longer than any toy we bought. We all learned the reality of the truth that it is more rewarding to give than it is to receive (Acts 20:35).
The greatest Christmas gift we can give ourselves and our children is the truth that giving is more rewarding than getting. But this is a difficult lesson to teach in a culture of rampant materialism. It can not be taught passively.
The original Christmas attendees showed up and did what? The Magi came to Christmas and gave. Next month when the children return to school they will be asked a standard post-Christmas question: What did you get? Orchestrate a time of family giving that prepares them to responds with, “I got some great stuff but let me tell you what we did…We gave Christmas to other people.”
Give a gift that will last a life time. Give the gift that keeps on giving. Give your family the gift of giving to others… for Christ’s sake.
Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts.