It’s right about now that many of you shoppers out there are thinking one of two things:
ONE: “I really, really, really NEED to get started on my Christmas shopping!”
TWO: “I really, really SHOULD have simplified and done LESS!”
I am happy to say that after hearing about Four SImple Gifts, and implementing this idea into our gift giving, my shopping has gotten much easier–and more enjoyable. Having four children and five grandchildren means that I get to carefully choose something that they WANT, NEED, WEAR, and READ. I always try to give thoughtful gifts, not just something to wrap and fill the tree, and this method has proven to be a great one for keeping boundaries while still giving generously and in a personal way.
I am one of those people who tends to stress over the “ideal” gift–and the truth of the matter is, December 26th comes and all of that worry is for naught. Let’s face it, December 2016 will be here before we know it, and we will look back and struggle to remember what was given and what was received. So why do we do it? I can only speak for myself, but here’s why I choose to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with gifts given to those I love:
The giving of gifts most visibly demonstrates the love that I carry in my heart for the Giver of The Most Perfect Gift Ever Given, and the love and thankfulness in my heart for those He has blessed me with.
My children are all grown now, and though I have no regrets over Christmas Past, I can say that instead of less, I wish I had given MORE:
- MORE AFFECTION. I can’t go back, but as I get older I want there to be no age limit on showing affection. When my kids were little it was easy to hold and cuddle them and shower them with kisses. As they approached their pre-teen years they would very naturally try to pull away –and eventually I gave in and gave them their space. Big mistake. Hindsight tells me they needed it even more–they just didn’t know it. Put your arm around your teen and tell them how much you love them. It very well might be the best gift you give them this year. “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” I John 3:18
- MORE FRUIT. Not the edible kind, but an even healthier kind. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Goodness. Self-Control. As a young mom I made plenty of mistakes, and it was only by depending on God that I could even begin to bear the kind of fruit that would bring about a healthy family. This kind of growth only comes by being connected to the Life-Giving Vine. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
- MORE TRUTH. I did my best to never lie to my children. I DID try to teach them the truth of God’s Word. The point is, I lied to myself. I’ve always struggled with memorization, and so I believed it to be a weakness. I never wanted to just quote scripture at my children as a way of discipline–that’s not the point. The real truth was that I didn’t discipline myself and my children as much as I should have in the practice of “hiding God’s Word in my heart”. [Psalm 119:11] I read the Word, and studied it, but OH HOW I WISH I HAD ENCOURAGED THEM TO MEMORIZE IT MORE. Every verse that I remember now comes from hard work and years of repetition–and I DO treasure it. Is that such a bad thing to teach them? That hard work and persistence reaps great reward? I’ve worked harder to memorize scripture in my latter years than my early years, and I am grateful. Grateful to have learned my lesson and hopeful that my children will learn from my mistake. “I rejoice in your Word like one who discovers a great treasure.” Psalm 119:162
- MORE PRAYER. I prayed for my children even before they were born. I prayed for them consistently every day after. And I continue to lift up my children, grandchildren and grandchildren yet to be born. But this world has changed. I’ve changed. And the way I pray has changed. If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would pray even more specifically. Not just the general, “bless them”, “keep them”, “protect them” kind of prayers. Not that there is anything wrong with those, but as a seasoned mom, I see now the ways that I could have been more specific. Does God need the details when He already knows? I don’t think so, but, for me, recognizing and admitting those specific areas of need not only grow me closer to the God Who Made Them, but closer to my children and grandchildren as I become more aware of where they are–not just physically, but spiritually. HE.KNOWS. He knows their needs better than we do, and sometimes when we speak to Him directly about those we love the most, well sometimes, it very well just might help us to once again place them in His Tender Care. “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.” ~~JESUS John 17:9-10
The Gift of Christmas just keeps on giving. Every year we learn more about ourselves and The One Who Came.
The simple truth is, I can never give enough.
I can only live in such a way as to be a small reflection of His Light–giving my wants, my desires, my needs, MY CHILDREN over to the One who made them.
And perhaps THAT kind of surrender is a gift we give ourselves. By trusting the Giver of All Good Things, we are free to be the wife, mother, daughter, nana and friend He created us to be.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
***Enjoy the free “Immanuel” printable as my gift to you this Christmas. Just right-click on the photo and you can save, download or print it. If you enjoy reading, please share the love with someone that might need a little encouragement.