Last year, we decided to adopt the idea of giving gifts to Jesus for Christmas. We had done things like a birthday cake on Christmas, but this just seemed like the next logical step. I have to admit that we all get a lot more excited and moved by it than the birthday cake. Although it didn’t even involve doing anything new, it just changed our language about something we were already doing (and made us a little more purposeful).
You may already see where this is going, but if you don’t, then you’re probably puzzling on it, “How do you give a Christmas gift to Jesus?”
Jesus told us over and over that to serve Him, we need to serve others. To feed Him, we must feed others. To clothe Him, we need to clothe others. We figured that also meant that if we wanted to give Jesus Christmas gifts, we must give them to others who were in need.
Like I already said, this wasn’t a new concept to us. We were already participating regularly in a program that provides gifts for parents in need so they can give those gifts to their children. We also had sometimes given to the Christmas fund for the Colombian girl that we sponsor through CFCA, although not with regularity that I would like. But, what changed was the language that we used when we’ve been talking about it.
Our children have always had generous hearts (mostly!) and have relished the idea of helping others, especially at Christmas time. But, it takes on a whole new meaning when we shopped for a gift to donate for the Christmas program when we talked ahead of time that we were picking out a gift for Jesus, and that the best way for us to give it to Him would be to give it to someone in need.
Molly, aged nine, said as we walked through the store with our gift, “It makes my heart feel good to think about giving this to Jesus.”
I couldn’t help but quip, “Yes, I’m sure that He always wished for a Barbie house.”
We laughed about it, but then Molly said, “I bet that the girl that we picked it out for will love it. I would have liked it when I was five.” (A five year old girl was the target age/gender we were supposed to be buying for, though parents in the program are able to pick from a selection of gifts that are donated, so it might not actually go to that specific girl.)
This year, we will continue to donate to the Christmas fund through CFCA, which will now also go to the second girl that we started sponsoring after a CFCA representative visited our church this year. (I almost didn’t sponsor a second child, but then told Eric after the presentation, “I think that Jesus is telling me not to be a selfish jerk face, and that we should do a second sponsorship.”)
Another great option, if you’re looking for a Jesus gift this year, is to do one of the many gift options through World Vision. My kids are keen to give someone in a third world country a set of five ducks. So, we might go ahead and do a fourth Jesus gift as well this year.
We have really loved this new way of looking at donations, at this time of year in particular. I like that it gives a very concrete way for the children to think about serving Jesus and helping others.
Do you have any special traditions during Advent/Christmas that involve helping others that are in need? I’d love to hear them!
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