My kids are a pretty good bunch. Of course, they show their need for a Savior just like everybody else on planet Earth, but for the most part they get along pretty well…..except during certain times of the year.
At the present time, they are behaving like the seagulls off of Finding Nemo. Four little voices (my youngest doesn’t talk yet) echo through the house calling “mine, mine, mine’. Every seasonal commercial entices coveting and draws my children out of their somewhat contentedness into fits of ‘I need, I need” or “mine, mine, mine”.
Instead of singing “Tis the season to be jolly”, I feel like screaming “Tis the season to be greedy?” Hmmm, not quite what I’m praying for….
As an example of this, and very fitting for the season, my daughter brought home a gingerbread house she’d created at school complete with every sugar coated candy imaginable….her very own gingerbread house (my precious). After supper we told her she could have a few pieces of it and she voluntarily offered some to her brothers. Now, you might be thinking, ‘how sweet’ (no pun intended), but this is the way she offered it.
“Ben, you can have this one…but you have to ask nicely. Aaron, you can’t have any of the chocolate, but you can have this.” After some redirection, she offered in a much nicer way, so Aaron responded just as a thankful child ought to…
“Hey, you gave Ben more than you gave me. I don’t want the little one, I want the big one.”
For the next ten minutes (maybe less, maybe more), I had a discussion with them about a ‘thankful heart’ and a ‘giving heart’. They seemed to get the idea, for at least the rest of the evening.
Christmas is often called ‘a time for giving’. Why? Because the most tremendous example of giving took place in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. God gave His one and only Son, whom he loved, to the cruel world and wrapped him up in flesh.
His gift tag might have read:
To: A sinful world From: Your Heavenly Father
This type of giving can’t be matched, but it ought to be inspiring. It should spurn us into acts of giving and not only money, but the greatest gift we have….love.
Romans 13 (which comes right after the chapter where we are encouraged to love everyone, even our enemies), reminds us in verses 8: “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another for he who loves his fellowmen has fulfilled the law” But even more than just keeping the law, we should do it out of a ‘thankful heart’ because of our greatest gift from Heaven.
You want your kids to be thankful for what they receive at Christmas and any other time of year, right? We should show even more gratitude as God’s kids, because of the precious gift he sent to us on that night long ago in Bethlehem.
The heart of Christmas may be in the giving, but out of a grateful heart for the gift God gave to us first. We have unwrapped a love so great, profound, lovely, and secure that nothing else could ever outshine it. We need nothing more under our Christmas trees than this ultimate gift.
May we be inspired to give His love to the world around us and may we revel in gratitude for gift beyond our wildest dreams.