Good grief…..my kids are making their Christmas lists and this could be the death of me. I have one child whose list is 3 pages long….did you read that? 3 PAGES LONG. Wow. It is nothing massive…a lot of little things so really not that big of a deal. It just looks like a big deal when you have pages handed to you.
Over the years, we are very mindful of the reason for Christmas. We read the Christmas story and we do focus on the birth of Jesus. We have, in the past, done a birthday party for Him. On the top of our tree, we put a crown of thorns and I love it! I love that reminder of the sacrifices that He made for me and my family.
I do not buy junk. We do things that are necessary, clothes, shoes, books…things that will last longer than 5 seconds. We do not overspend for our kids because that is not what our focus needs to be on. One thing we do, as a family, is the shoebox ministry. It is through Operation Christmas Child (http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/). Each child does a shoebox and fills it with items such as:
- Toys: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.
- School Supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
- Non-Liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.
- Accessories: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.
- A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.
- Do Not Include: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
They also place letters, drawings and $7 to cover the shipping. It is something that is precious to my heart and I want my kids to know that there are children, in this world, that are less fortunate than they are. I enjoy watching them choose what goes in each box. This is a part of MY kids Christmas…giving to others.
Another thing we do is we adopt a kid (or two) from the Pima Reservation. Eric and Brittany Gibbs (http://liveloveaz.blogspot.com/) are friends of ours who have left everything they know and love to travel across the states to ministry to these wonderful people. My daughters have gone on summer mission trips to Arizona and it has forever impacted their lives. Most of these children, in the reservation, do not have “Christmas” because they are so poor. We want to share in our abundance and be able to put a smile on the faces of these children! Soon, the Gibbs will be posting on how to adopt a kid for Christmas.
It is so important that we look past the commercialism of Christmas and we return to the true meaning. Loving Christ and loving our neighbor. Giving back. I encourage you to find a place, in your community, to serve (a food pantry, a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, nursing homes, etc.) I also encourage you to find a way to help others. Get some people together and do the Operation Christmas Child (our church does this). Gather up gently used or new stuffed animals and donate them to the police department or your local DCBS office for when children are removed from their homes with nothing.
By serving others…..you can be the hands and feet of Jesus. How awesome is that!