Christmas is around the corner. The time of things is at hand. New dolls. New bikes. New toys of all kinds. For the older set, new video games, new televisions, new…whatever. While I see nothing at all wrong with giving gifts to those whom we love, far too often our emphasis is wrong. We want to give too many things or even the wrong things. Instead of emphasizing the love of God, our gifts to our families so often seem to detract from His love.
I don’t want to be like that. While I do want my little girls to know the delight of holding a new doll and my littlest boys to have the thrill of new building blocks as they explore the seemingly infinite things that they can create and design, in the end the things themselves don’t really matter; the love that prompted them is. I want to give to my family without gifts being the end-all. My love for them and my giving to them ought to mirror the love of the Father rather than reduce them to covetousness, selfishness or laziness. Be the gifts great or small (and with the head of the family unemployed for over a year, they will be fairly small and that’s alright), the love behind them is far more important than the material value of the gift itself. More so, if they were to receive nothing at all, I want my children to be eternally grateful for the things that they do receive daily: food, shelter, clothing, love…all from the hands of a loving Father.
To that end, I want my children to receive certain gifts this Christmas and every single day and hold onto them always:
The gift of holiness: a gift from the Father Himself, without holiness being manifest in our lives, our claims of being His don’t ring true; it is my desire that my children truly live a set-apart lifestyle and seek to be pleasing to the Lord always.
The gift of love: for God so loved the world that He gave His Best to His people; my desire is that they shall always love enough so that they are prompted to give their best to the Lord and to others.
The gift of gentleness: there is far too much harshness in this world; a gentle heart is a balm to those in pain.
The gift of thankfulness: in consumer driven societies, we are bombarded with messages that to be more, we must have more. As the daughter of a mother raised during the depression, our family motto was, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”; this I want my children to understand and to value. If they can learn to be grateful for the things that they have (seeing that, on our own we are not worthy of any good thing from the Lord); if they can go through life without being jaded and from the depth of their being thanking the Lord daily for His gift of salvation, air, flowers, sun light, food, shelter, clothing no matter how much or how little they might have then they will be among the richest of people.
The gift of sharing: freely has God given to us, freely we must give to others…of our time, of our talents, of our supplies, of ourselves. I want my children to be givers of the Gospel to the lost, givers of example to believers, givers of self to family and friends, givers of things needed to those in need.
The gift of martyrdom: an unpopular notion but, I believe, a good and even necessary one. It is my desire that daily my children lay down their lives to the Lord, take up their cross and follow Him, trusting in Him no matter how hard the trial, how painful the betrayals, how difficult the persecutions, how long the way and, in the end, if needful, that they lay down that cross at the feet of Christ and offer their bodies unto death if by this He may be glorified.
The gift of peace: Christ came to offer us peace…with God. I desire that they know it and live it so that they can be the avenue through which God can work to reach others with His peace.
The gift of wisdom: the fear of the Lord is where true wisdom begins. It is my desire that my children know Him better every single day and that they hold Him in such reverence that they have a holy fear of Him. As a result of knowing Him this way, it is my desire that they will live their lives in wisdom and use their time wisely so that they might always keep the Lord not just number one among many but as their “Only One”; then they can truly live.
The gifts of knowledge and understanding: for far too long modern “Christianity” has led people to base their salvation on their experience with God rather than seeking out His Truth and measuring any experience against it. It is my desire that my children know God’s Word, understand God’s Word, treasure His Word and live His Word. Truth is everything.
The greatest Christmas gift is simply this: more of God. This is my desire for my little ones, big ones and in-between ones. It is my desire for you, also. May you and your family have a truly blessed Christmas.