Christmas Gift

I love the concept of being the change you want to see in your children. It really helps to focus on our own attitudes and responses – which we are actually able to change. So, when it comes to bringing up children who have a heart attitude that demonstrates love, I must first examine my attitudes and outworking of that.

I want them [our children] to see us giving because we have a lot to be grateful for and we value peoples contribution to our lives

One of my love languages is gift giving. I like to give people meaningful gifts. With a young family and not a lot of spare cash this has left me feeling divided this Christmas. It would be so easy to decide not to give gifts. However, when I reflect on what I want my children to see, I want them to see us giving because we have a lot to be grateful for and we value peoples contribution to our lives. I also believe that Christmas is about giving. Yet, I don’t want to go into debt, nor do I want to give people meaningless gifts because I feel obligated. How easy is it to feel obligated to get someone a gift because they give you one, or because you expect you will receive a gift? Instead, we should be able to give without any expectation of receiving. Not as a reward to good behavior, or with the expectation that the recipient must like and use it.

…at a time when people can feel isolated and overwhelmed we can demonstrate, through giving, that they are known and not alone!

The Dignity of being known came up in my news feed recently. I encourgage you to click through and read it. In part it talks about how we can show people we know them through giving them meaningful gifts. How awesome is that, at a time when people can feel isolated and overwhelmed we can demonstrate, through giving, that they are known and not alone! Yet in contrary, how isolating can obligated gift giving be.

I hope to demonstrate to my children that we can give authentic obligation free gifts

So this Christmas I hope to demonstrate to my children that we can give authentic obligation free gifts. Those gifts, they don’t even have to be things, they can be time listening to someone who needs to be listened to. They don’t even have to be on time – especially if money is tight and we don’t want to go into debt, sometimes they will come after the 25th of December. Sometimes, they don’t have to be given just because of a day.

As a parent we can demonstrate to our children that we know them and that we want to know them through simple acts of giving

Everyday we have opportunities to show people we know them and they are not alone. With a toddler it can be as simple as washing her favorite dress so it is clean when she asks for it the next day – because I know she will want to wear it. As a parent we can demonstrate to our children that we know them and that we want to know them through simple acts of giving. That we want to build a relationship and disciple them (the base word of discipline). The fundamental of that is knowing them.

When we write our list of people we want to get gifts for and struggle to come up with a gift for someone on that list, this year we can use that as a reminder to get to know them better.

Lets focus on Christmas again. When we write our list of people we want to get gifts for and struggle to come up with a gift for someone on that list, this year we can use that as a reminder to get to know them better. So that at Christmas time next year, we know that person well enough to get them a gift that says I know you, you are not alone.

gifts

Messy Christmas

I want to be intentional about Christmas so we are not swept away in the commercialism

It is the first day of Advent, the season of Christmas. Wanting to start new traditions it has taken me a while to decide on what we are going to do. I want to be intentional about Christmas so we are not swept away in the commercialism. However it has taken me ages to decide upon what will be included and has meant that ‘Unwrapping the Greatest Gift’ by Ann Voskamp is in the post – we were supposed to start reading it today!

Our messy families – messy houses and messy humanity – feel like a stark contrast to the perfect ‘Peace on Earth’ happy families

It would be so easy for me to feel defeated by Christmas. Maybe Christmas snuck up on me because I am not a fan of Christmas. There are many dates in December that evoke negative emotions due to past memories. Our messy families – messy houses and messy humanity – feel like a stark contrast to the perfect ‘Peace on Earth’ happy families that are suppose to celebrate Christmas. The beautiful Christmas trees and constant positivity sets an expectation, so much in contrast, that makes me feel even more messy. Even more unable to embrace Christmas.

Instead I think back to a messy unplanned journey to a town where there was no place to stay, meaning a baby needed to be born in a stable. Birth is not exactly clean and I am not exactly sure what happened to that Placenta. There is nothing straight forward about that story. St Nicholas lost both his parents and spent time in prison – if that is not a messy life I am not sure what is.

That every time our messy juxtaposes with Peace on Earth we are reminded that we can have internal peace and external messy

What if instead of feeling depressed and defeated by our messy families this Christmas we embraced them and accepted that Christmas is as much about messy as it is about Peace on Earth. That every time our messy juxtaposes with Peace on Earth we are reminded that we can have internal peace and external messy. It’s not about being good to receive presents, or preforming to some expectation.

…there will be days in December that evoke negative emotions. On those days I can seek internal Peace

This year I am intentionally going to accept that Christmas is as much messy as Peace on Earth-y. That Advent doesn’t have to be perfect as long as it helps me remember to be still, focus and rest. I don’t have to commit to 25 days of Advent ‘doing’ unless it feels authentic to me. I can start reading my Advent book a week late and it will be ok. That until my new traditions create personal excitement, there will be days in December that evoke negative emotions. On those days I can seek internal Peace. I can embrace Christmas. I can embrace messy.

Let us not run from Christmas this year because someone wants us to take on an expectation. Let us embrace an authentic messy Christmas, that is sometimes confusing and painful because we can use that messy painful to help us refocus on family, thankfulness, gratitude and peace one intentional step at a time.