James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
With Christmas fast approaching, I’m not even close to finishing my shopping. I want to get my hubby something so special. Christmas morning the kids wrapping paper and packaging will be screwn across the floor. I envision scooping up that last present from under the tree and lay it on his lap. He’ll portray the perfect reaction when he opens it and realizes the heart work that went into picking it out.
Perhaps you or your kids have high expectations this season. In trying to meet expectations, it’s easy to loose your sanity. Do toy magazines have your kid’s favorites, circled 10 times in sharpe? But we know in our heart, this season is so much more than the commercialization it’s become.
How can we refocus to remember todays verse, that ‘every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord’?
1 – Family Morning DevotionsWe make it a habit of ours to catch our kids while they’re sitting eating breakfast. We all like routines. What better way to start the day, the Lord has made, with a verse or two! My kids adjusted years ago to ‘no TV’ mornings before school. They weren’t functioning to get ready with the distraction of TV anyway. There are some great advent devotions out there! You could even read one chapter of Luke a day (or now two chapters, with only 12 days left) But next year, we’ll be more organized right? Start now, and it will be as natural as eating by then!
2 – Go Serve in the CommunityIf you, like us, live far away from any grandparents or great-grandparents, visit your local senior living center. Call and ask about visitors. Even see if you and a small group of friends could come and sing carols with them! We like to visit our neighbors with homemade treats and a handwritten scripture verse. What a great excuse to touch those who disappear behind a closing garage door all year.
3 – Help Your Kids to Think of OthersAnother great way to nurture our kids servant hearts. Pick something visual or hands on for the kids to prepare for other kids to show the love of Christ. Build a shoebox online for Operation Christmas Child (to physically fill boxes yourselves, November is normally collection week). Bring your kids to wrap presents at ‘Elf Louise’ the first week in December. ‘Angel Tree’ offers an easy way to show kids of prisoners, they’re dearly loved and not forgotten. Give a ‘Christmas Care Pack’ at ‘Voice of the Martyrs’. What an amazing way to serve Christians in 68 hostile and restricted nations! We already have the best present money can’t buy. Our heart’s contentment overflows.
4 – Who’s St. Nick?Here’s one concept I struggled with for years. My heart convicted me to only tell our kids the truth when they asked. I want my kids to trust me, and trust what they know to be true. I didn’t want them doubting; “If Santa’s not real, then is Jesus real?” I realized there was freedom in teaching our kids the historicity of St Nicholas. Breaking it down, he was a real person in history who loved Jesus. He gave gifts to kids because of his love for Our Lord. I explained, that’s why parents have a little fun and give something from ‘Santa’… ‘we love because Christ loved us first’.
5 – Slow Down, Find Peace in His RestWe want our kids to have amazing memories of Christmas time. Our kids might hold high expectations of snow, hot cocoa and marshmallows. Our identity is hard to see through the craziness of trying to meet these unrealistic demands or striving for perfection. Our success doesn’t lie in finishing those pinterest decorations; perfecting grandma’s cookie recipe, or even finding the best presents. Through the season, let’s remember who we are, wrapped in Christ Jesus. That’s the reason for the season.
We probably have the same visions of being a perfect Christian. We find we keep getting onto ourselves about falling short. If this sounds familiar, no wonder we feel we’re loosing sanity during this season, imposing unrealistic expectations, and not just spending time with the Lord and focusing on the most precious gift He gives.
Father, give us Your overwhelming peace this season. Help us fix our eyes on You and rest in Your unchangingness. Perhaps You’ll use us to encourage someone else of Your great love for us, sending Your Son to save. ~Amen.
Read also; The Perfect Gift