Perhaps you are just recovering from the retail mayhem of Black Friday. You mentally and physically trained yourself for this challenge. You carefully mapped out your itinerary. And you polished off two or three (or four) cups of coffee just to give yourself some edge. You sprinted to thee isle, perhaps weathered some hostile co-shoppers, and survived mile-long lines all in attempt to give your children everything they asked for.
I’ve fallen prey to the hype of the deals a time or two. It’s true! But not this year. And it’s not because I wanted to make a stand for Thanksgiving: “Give us our holiday back and start Black FRIDAY on Friday!” And although I am very baffled by the display of insanity, this is not even a rant about Black Friday at all. Not even a little bit. This is about how Christmas has become nothing more than kids (and even some adults) getting whatever they want.
I saw a restaurant sign the other day that said “Pie is the Reason for the Season.” I mean What? What has Christmas come to? And why does it keep getting worse? After all, what’s salvation from the Son of God without a warm cherry pie, right? I digress….but this somehow prompted this subject to mind. We raise our children in a Christian home. We tell them the story of baby Jesus in a manager, the three wise men, and the star. But I couldn’t help but wonder- are we showing them the meaning of Christmas or are we falling in line with the worldly temptation to feed our flesh and buy more, more, more?
But let’s be honest- as parents, we have this inborn desire for our children to be happy. That means the best schools, the best clothes, having the latest iPads, iPhones, and everything else that begins with a lower case “i”, signing up for EVERY sport known to man, and buying them everything on their Christmas list. I get it- it’s Christmas!
Unfortunately, what we fail to realize is that on our journey to provide our kids with every luxury and ensure their happiness, we are sacrificing something much more! We’re providing them comfort over character. Materialism over contentment. And happiness over holiness.
Don’t get the wrong idea- I’m not against giving my children presents on Christmas. But like all things in life, we want to practice moderation with how much we buy our children. Even the less fortunate in our country are considered rich in the eyes of others around the world. And yet with all the conveniences of our modern society, we still aren’t satisfied and want more!
I am, however, against spoiling my children on Christmas. And not just because I don’t want my kids to grow up with backward notions like Christmas is all about gifts or “Pie is the Reason for the Season,” (both of which are good enough reasons to instill moderation) but because I care more about my kids’holiness than their happiness and I refuse to give in by giving them everything they ask for.
After all, what message am I sending my kids if I always give them what they want? Life will always go your way? It is better to receive, rather than give? Life is about the pursuit for more stuff? Contentment is found in acquiring more things? This is a false message we are sending our children about life and Christianity.
I know many of you might think I’m taking this point to the extreme. But that’s probably because our culture works so hard to indoctrinate us to believe more is always better and never to settle for anything less because we deserve it. We don’t even deserve the gift of God’s grace, but He faithfully and lovingly gives it anyway, despite ourselves.
And we must remember that in every decision, we set a precedent for our children. What I desire most for my children is for them to know their joy is in the Lord, not a present. That nothing beyond soul winning has eternal value. I want them to learn contentment and have a heart of gratitude and not lust for the things of the world.
Now before you think my kids are getting nothing but socks for Christmas, I will tell you that they are not being deprived of gifts. I still anticipate to be woken in the wee hours of the morning by eager children and I anxously await to see their little brown eyes light up. But I also want them to understand the truth- that Christmas is not about the gifts and it’s not even about them.
Last night, as I read Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” even the Grinch came to terms that Christmas wasn’t about packages, boxes or bags. One phrase in particular stuck with me that I yearn for my kids to grasp: “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” And that something more is Jesus! And just to set the record straight, pie is and never will be the reason for the season because “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”
I pray you take these words to heart and put them in action. I know it’s not an easy task, but like parenting, nothing in life worthwhile ever really is easy.
The Humble Homemaker