WHAT DOES CHRISTmas MEAN TO YOUR FAMILY?!
I have really felt convicted to post about the topic of CHRISTmas, but in all honesty I was not sure how to approach the subject. I have spent much time in prayer and meditation writing this so I can present this topic in the most loving way.
If you remember, I did a survey about a month ago about CHRISTmas including questions like:
- How much do you spend on each child?
- Do your children get the same number of gifts?
- Are you stressed about money during CHRISTmas?
The thing that struck me the most is 97% of the people that took the survey stated they were very stressed about finances during the CHRISTmas holiday. If we know we are stressed financially, then maybe God is telling us this is NOT what CHRISTmas is about? We also find ourselves so wrapped up in our own families and gift giving that we forget about the less fortunate. CHRISTmas to me is so much more than our own families. It is sharing Jesus with as many people as we can. We have done the Miracle CHRISTmas party for 17 years and have learned so much about ourselves and others. Here are a few of the topics that I feel God keeps placing on my heart to write about.
New items vs. Used items
We have done the MIRACLE CHRISTmas party for 17 years now and we always ask for NEW, unwrapped gifts. We have received some negativity from people about this. Some of the most common complaints have been, “If these families have nothing, they should appreciate anything.” “I will be purchasing my child a new coat for CHRISTmas, so I will donate their old coat”. First, you are right these families will appreciate anything, but why do we think that is okay to give them our leftovers. I understand some people are not in a position to purchase a NEW item and want to help, please know those are not the people I am referring to. I am referring to the people who are not giving sacrificially, but just giving their leftovers. Jesus calls us to give our first fruits to him. Matthew 25:40 says “Whatever you’ve done for the least of my brothers or sisters, you’ve done for me”. Thus meaning when we give to others we are giving to Jesus. Would we take Jesus our leftovers or would we give him the BEST gift we could. I tend to believe we would give him the BEST not our leftovers. These families already get second-hand items on a regular basis, so I want to give them what I think they deserve. I want them to know they matter and are not “leftovers” to me. They too are God’s masterpieces and just going through a rough spot in life. That is why we call our party a MIRACLE CHRISTmas ~ all for the glory of God. Rather than saying, hey, I am purchasing my child a new coat, here is their used coat, this year let’s say “My child can wait another year for a winter coat, let’s go pick up a NEW coat for this child that is in need, not in “want”.’
Adopting Families for CHRISTmas
This is also a HOT topic to many. I have heard many people “adopt” a family at CHRISTmas but never purchase an item off the child’s list. Most of the list I have received from the Salvation Army are pretty modest. Sometimes you will get some request that I wouldn’t even purchase for my own kids and I get that, but if we are truly “adopting” a child and/or family for CHRISTmas why wouldn’t we purchase what they want. Do we purchase our children what they want (obviously within reason). These are kids that attend schools with other children and their “wants” are the same. If our kid asked for a gift we wouldn’t get them something totally different, we would try to get them what they wanted and I think we should for these children too. Again, I understand if it is something unreasonable but most of the requests are within reason. We need to stop and think these are children too and we need to treat them with love and respect.
Our family will not be having CHRISTmas this year
This year I have received over 200+ requests to help families at CHRISTmas time. I have heard many people say we are not going to have CHRISTmas this year. I think that makes me more sad than anything else I have heard. The truth of the matter is ~ Jesus was born to the virgin Mary over 2000 years ago and that is the TRUE meaning of this Holiday. Just because your children may not be receiving gifts, we should still celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior ~ CHRISTmas. I experienced the disappointment of not being able to provide, what I thought, was the “perfect” CHRISTmas. When my oldest 3 were little, we had a CHRISTmas that they each got one gift and it was from Big Lots. It wasn’t easy and yes, it was sad, but that is the year I realized CHRISTmas is NOT about gifts. It is truly about Jesus and the Love, Peace, and Joy that comes from Him. Do the gifts honestly make us happy or does knowing we have family that loves us matter more? We, the parents, are the ones that have set these standards for our children, for them wanting everything they see on a commercial etc. Everyone gets so upset with the commercialism of CHRISTmas, but we, the consumers, are allowing that. We are putting the emphasis on gift giving and purchasing so many items. So many go into deep debt at CHRISTmas time for that brief moment of joy in our children’s eyes. When in actuality, most of the toys end up at the bottom of the toy box a few days after CHRISTmas. I want my children to find Joy in so much more than “things”. I want our children to find JOY in people and invest in things that matter. For them to find TRUE HAPPINESS that only comes from Christ. I want them to be content with just knowing CHRISTmas Morning is Jesus’ Birthday and that is why we celebrate that day. It is not about Santa Claus, it is not about gifts, but it is about our Savior’s Birth. This year, we will be giving our children 3 gifts, to symbolize the 3 gifts the wise men brought to Jesus.
- Gold: The gift of gold symbolizes something of great value to them. Something they really want
- Frankincense: The gift of Frankincense symbolizes something spiritual – A Bible, a cross necklace, anything that will help them in their spiritual walk.
- Myrrh: The gift of Myrrh symbolizes something for the body – clothing, shoes, a blanket, etc.
Because of this I feel less stressed myself about CHRISTmas. It is simple and a great way to cut down on ALL the commercialism and truly focus on the TRUE Meaning of CHRISTmas.
What Uncle Dennis Taught Us
I can tell you Uncle Dennis (our homeless friend) has had a huge impact on our family. I remember the one day I went looking for him and we had a picnic, he told me he often wonders how God is using him. What his significance is in the world. I told him then and I will say it again, he has given me and my family so much. He has helped us rethink what our lives are all about. Each year at CHRISTmas time I thought I was somewhat relaxed, but was always trying to find the PERFECT gift for the kids and have them all under the tree looking beautifully. BUT what Dennis taught me is that the PERFECT gift is honestly in the time we spend with our families. The love that we share. It has nothing to do with “things” BUT everything to do with loving one another unconditionally. Dennis has taught me more about myself in the short time I have known him than I ever thought possible. I know God is using Dennis in mighty ways. I am so proud to call Dennis my friend and so honored to say I know him. I wish I could share a piece of him with each and every one of you, because I know your life would be a little bit better because of what he can teach you all too. He might not have much to give in “material stuff”, but what he can give as far as wisdom is beyond what I needed and much more valuable than ANY “item” he could have given to us. As Christians, I think it is time to take back the TRUE meaning of CHRISTmas and start a tradition. A tradition of spending less “money” BUT spending MORE time with our families in things that matter and investing in others. Take your children to feed at a homeless shelter, have them pick up socks, hat, and gloves and hand out. Teach them that CHRISTmas is about sharing the LOVE of Jesus and enjoying the greatest gift we could ever receive – the gift of HIM. This year let’s share him with as many as we can!! Rather than making debt, let’s make memories with others; memories that will last a lifetime!!
GOD IS GOOD. . . ALL THE TIME!!
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