This Christmas is shaping up to be really tight. We are more than likely only going to be able to do a portion of what I would like to do for people. It makes me a little upset because it's Kolton's first Christmas to really be aware and excited about things! However, this mindset has given me an opportunity to think through the motives behind gift giving at the holidays.
Seems like everyone has a recipe for how they buy Christmas. Starting in July so that they're done by November and the financial struggle is already over. Limiting the gifts you give to your children. Having kids donate and buy for others in exchange for a gift. All you have to do is look up Santa List on Pinterest and your computer can be flooded with ideas to take the hassle out of Christmas.
As great as all those helps are, I think it's important to examine why we give gifts. According to the world, Christmas is about good cheer and family time. So sometimes it's easy to get swept up in that more is more mentality. We don't want our kids to get to school in January and feel like they got the short end of the stick. Or compare presents with cousins and it make their Christmas seem lacking. How do we protect against that mentality? In the hustle and bustle of Christmas, how do you instill the heart of Christ in those around you?
I think most importantly is why we give gifts. Are we keeping up with the Joneses? Are we over compensating for our perceived failures in the past year? Do we give out of guilt because someone got you a present last year? Even though I try to avoid these ideas, I'd be lying if I said these motives have never popped up in my mind.
However that's not the real reason we give gifts. We give gifts because Christ gave the ultimate gift by giving up the splendors of heaven to come to earth to be born as our Savior. Always, but especially this time of year, we must examine the heart. If your kids know constantly why you do what you do, it takes the pressure off of presents.
I know a lot of times we are tempted to break away from gift giving completely. Who hasn't thought at one time or another "my child has so many (insert beloved toys here) we just need to stop buying things. Don't want them to be spoiled". Believe me, I get it! We have so many basketballs and footballs I've often thought the same thing. But I'm constantly reminding myself that I don't live by the world's standard. The world says "don't give so much your children are spoiled, but give enough they can compete with those around them".
But, I'm here to tell you that is not God's answer. God says "I'm your model. Look at all the blessings I've given to you. Instead of withholding for fear of your selfishness, I've showered you with blessings. I have modeled how to be a steward of your blessings and know you can handle your gifts properly. If not, I'm here to help you".
How amazing is that? This Christmas instead of worrying if I'm getting too much or too little, I'm going to think, am I showing my child how to use gifts properly. We give because Christ gave us everything. The Joy of the Lord is why we have a joyful season. Let's keep Christ in Christmas the whole season and in our hearts. That way we can be living examples for our children about the real reason for the season!