It’s that time of year, friends! We’ll soon be celebrating Thanksgiving and then Christmas rolls in as shoppers
trample each other stand in line to get a good deal. Funny, that seems so opposite of what Christmas is actually about.
Most of us are already listening to Christmas music and planning family activities for December. If we aren’t purposeful, we might find ourselves joining “grandma” (and all the midnight shoppers) in getting run over by the “reindeer” of holiday shopping, kid’s programs and year-long awaited parties. As you plan, I want to encourage you to be intentional and bless your children in four simple ways this Christmas:
1. Bless them with shared moments. There’s nothing more fun than creating an environment in your home that your “people” want to be in. This doesn’t mean perfection; it means you being simply you. If that means baking cookies together or blowing up your kitchen with a gingerbread house gone bad, do it! If you like to sing, sing carols at your friend’s doors together. Take a family drive around town to look at Christmas lights while sipping hot chocolate. Pray for your city as you enjoy the twinkling of the lights. Invite friends over or host someone who needs your family’s love. Make purposeful memories with your kids during this Christmas season and let them believe that there is “no place like home” at Christmas time.
2. Bless them with words. We all know that words are powerful. Words that get shared at holidays can literally transform how a person feels about that time of year. When I was 9 years old, our family was serving at a Korean church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Every Sunday morning, we would pack up the car for the day and drive an hour for my dad to be the English-speaking pastor to the elementary through college-agers at this church. My Mom taught a Sunday school class, my sisters and I made little friends, and the entire church ate “weird” food together every single Sunday. We loved the “Korean church”, as we called it. One night, just before Christmas, my Dad sat all of our family down by the Christmas tree. He talked to us about what a great year it had been and then he spoke some words that I’ll never forget: “You girls are partners with us in this ministry. We couldn’t have done it without you.” Wow! Then, he handed each of us a crisp $20 bill in a white envelope. I had never had that much money at one time! I remember feeling so proud that night and obviously, I still recall those words of being a part of my family’s “team”. Words are powerful! In the midst of a very busy season, bless your children with kind words.
3. Bless them with compassion. Many of us have sung, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” But, how you do you demonstrate that truth in your home? This Christmas, our church family will begin sponsoring a village of children in Bolivia. Together, we’ll link arms to make a difference in the lives of children who desperately need to hear about Jesus, while also being fed and educated. The work of Compassion International is truly changing entire communities around the world! They are raising up teachers and pastors and business owners who love Jesus in their own far-off homes. These little people are growing up to be missionaries who don’t need months of language training or fundraising. They will simply begin to work and live in their native country, many with a deep desire to see others know the Jesus that changed their lives…and we get to be a part of it! Bless your children with compassion for others. That will have to start with you!
Psalm 96:2-3 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day-to-day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4. Bless them with Jesus. I’m going to say something really unpopular right now and I realize that this could be uncomfortable. We don’t celebrate Santa at our house. We never have. (gasp!) We enjoy the historical account of St. Nicholas, but what Santa has become in our culture, even in our Christian circles, is in my opinion, taking away from Jesus. Jesus has changed the heart beat of our family. Because of his impact on our life, we simply want to celebrate him during the Christmas season. We’ll do all sorts of “Christmasy” things, but what we teach our children is that because Jesus came into the world, we celebrate! The prophecy came true! The angels rejoiced! A threatened king wanted to kill him. This little baby turned the world upside down! He would heal the sick and make the blind see. Then, he would give up his life for you and for me. It’s a life changing story! His “competition” with Santa, who brings all the gifts and gets all the photo-ops, just doesn’t make much sense to me. I wonder what we are teaching kids when we say, “Look at all the gifts Santa brought you!” Surely, this doesn’t help them love Jesus more?! After all, Santa brought them an “American Girl” doll and a new bike. Who needs Jesus, right? I urge you to put Jesus at the center of your Christmas celebrations. Honor his name, only. Bless your children with Jesus!
Christmas really is the “most wonderful time of the year”. I hope you will intentionally step into these next weeks with purpose and a plan to bless.
For more information about how you can sponsor a child from around the world: http://www.compassion.com/