Whoa. Say what?! Got your attention didn't I? Yea, God's been doing that to me lately, too. But hear me out on this, mmm kay?
Wish lists. Credit cards. Stress over who to buy for and what to buy. How much to spend on each child and worry about how to explain why they got one [expensive] gift while his sister got five [less expensive] gifts. Greed. Discontent. Covetousness.
Seriously. That's all I see surrounding Christmas and it even creeps up in my own home. I don't like it. It's not the way Christmas was meant to be celebrated. Giving, yes. But not in hopes that someone is giving to us. But rather that we are giving--and training our children in the same.
St. Nicholas, for example, didn't bring toys to greedy children. He took money to needy families. How is it we have allowed these things that we are warned against in the Bible, to creep in during Christmas? Why is it OK during this time of the year? Might I suggest an alternative? Even just a slight alteration?
Ban the wish lists from your children, and even your own. Lay it aside. Grab a clean piece of reality and fill it in with those in need. Serious. There are cultures who don't even have one verse of the Bible. Not one. Because it hasn't been translated into their language. Give the gift of God's word. What greater gift is there?!
Sometimes the truth is hard, but friends, we are so spoiled here. We really are! We are a blessed people!! Let's not waste it, friends. Let's use what God has given us to truly love others. It's the Gospel lived out in it's simplest form--giving to the least of these. Will you help?
Will you share with your children how God has blessed them so they can bless others? That it might be a sacrifice to let some things go, but isn't it worth it?
Let's help our children learn to see outside of themselves--let us look outside ourselves. As so hard as it is in a culture that screams for more stuff. We don't know anything else, do we? It takes a lot of work and shift in perspective to really grab a hold of something counter cultural.
Let God lead you and comfort you. Let Him assure you your gift won't go to waste.
I am not suggesting to not bless your children. But I do challenge you to rethink the method and the message of Christmas. Rather than buying all the latest and greatest, focus on the needs of your children.
Do they need new clothes or shoes? School supplies or educational materials? Creative arts equipment or supplies? Things that will help them grow and nurture their gifts and talents.
This may be the only time you see me write about Christmas. Even I have been challenged by these very things, because I am still wrestling with the comfort of what I've always known. What I've always known simply isn't satisfying this souls thirst to love beyond my own comfort.
It's like, one day I just woke up and saw the great needs I didn't see before. I can't explain it, except that it's God moving in me. Molding my heart. Teaching me about compassion and what love really looks like. If you have to, start small. We all need to start somewhere--and somewhere is better than nowhere.
My goal isn't to push anything on anyone--but to challenge you're thinking--to offer you a new perspective--to show you that God does call us to something greater than ourselves.
What are we going to do with it?