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Christmas Problem

December 14, 2011

The spirit of Christmas is give.

God gave us His Son.

His Son then gave us His life.

It is why we give at Christmas.

Unfortunately when you give to a sinner, they expect to get.

Get more. That “more, more, more” becomes greed. Then from the greed comes discontent.

It happened to us last year. It was my fault in part. One day in early November while on a regular shopping trip one of the boys said “I want ___________(toy).” It was close enough to Christmas and I needed some ideas to share with the family for gifts for the kids so I replied with “Ok. We’ll put it on your Christmas list.”

From  then on, every shopping trip resulted in more stuff for the list. Every cool toy they saw another kid have, they wanted. If I had actually bothered to write everything down, it would have been a seriously LONG list.

I bought most of the kids presents in the summer at garage sales; and since stuff was so cheap, I bought too much.

When we were with family, manners were soon forgotten and groans were heard when a gift was opened that contained clothes rather than a toy.

We attempted to keep our focus on Christ. We have a Fisher Price Little People Nativity that we introduce a new piece each night and talk about their role in Christ’s birth. For an advent calendar, we use Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Devotional to share with the boys about how God’s gift of Jesus is woven throughout the whole Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. To get their focus off themselves we even had the boys pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Those things were all good, but I did them more to make myself feel good than to actually do good for others.

When we came back from visiting family last year, the Chief and I had a discussion about the whole Christmas season. We agreed that it was still too focused on the “stuff.” I shared with him an idea that I had read on somebody’s blog. (I have no idea where). Each member of their family got three gifts. One gift that they wanted (like a toy), one gift that they needed (like clothes), and one gift they could share (like a game or movie). They chose three, because that is how many gifts were brought to Jesus. I immediately loved that idea. This year we are putting it into practice, but with a few changes that make it work for our family.

The other big change we’ve made this year is that we are giving less to ourselves and more to others. That’s where we really dropped the ball last year. Christmas was still very focused on our family. This year we are doing our best to give to other families.

Today we made gingerbread men. Not just any gingerbread men. Gingerbread Police Officers.

And not just a couple either. We made a whole team of them.

We’ll be taking the little blue men (minus the one with the messed up eye) down to the station to say “thank you” to those who work so hard to keep us safe.

I want my boys to learn that the sacrifice it takes to give brings more joy than getting any present could. I don’t expect them to get it right away. (It took me many years!) But I know they’re not going to get it unless we model it.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lydia permalink
    December 14, 2011 4:07 pm

    Geepers girl, that is just the best! Stephen and I had a kick looking for the screwy eyeball one! Love this idea. I may steal it from you! Thanks for modeling good giving to ME and ours!

    Our girls are each getting their Christmas jammies, socks, and a doll passed down from a friend who was clearing out here garage of old toys. Seems strange, so “few” things, but I really like it.

    Love you!

    • December 15, 2011 2:12 pm

      Don’t you know that as I took that picture, I said to myself “I wonder how many people will look for the one with the funny eye?” Of course it was you!

  2. Mrs. Winona M. Witowski permalink
    December 15, 2011 9:23 pm

    Kudos for a well executed baking and decorating job.I think you should have left the one with the funny eye. Not everybody is perfect!

    • December 19, 2011 11:35 am

      I just needed an excuse to be able to eat one myself 😉

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