What God did for us
By Amanda Elliott
I heard a chef once talk about the care with which we treat certain types of food. If most people, for example, treated vegetables with the same care, diligence and creativity in preparation as we did meat, we just may find veggies more appetizing.
It is with this in mind that I think of children and Christmas time. There’s rarely a parent this time of year who isn’t looking for a way to take the focus of getting, getting, getting, and prioritize the true meaning of Christmas—to shift the focus from gifts to THE gift.
I have an 8-year-old son and I’ve thought a lot in the last few years about how to best reach him. It rests in how we live, not what we say. As a mother do I prioritize Jesus over gift buying?
It’s easy to demand our children not focus on gift getting, but do they see us fretting over how to pay for gifts and do they see us carving away quality family time to shop? Do we spend more time doing things of this world with no eternal value rather than spending quiet moments intentionally and repeatedly teaching them the story of the manger in Bethlehem?
I’ve realized that a command from my mouth may give immediate results, but it doesn’t give a lasting understanding in the heart of a child.
The second thing I’ve felt impressed to pursue—make the gifts a reflection of how God treats us. We are given grace and mercy and love that we don’t deserve and that we never could earn. And it all is birthed from a place of love. The world tells us gifts are for the “nice list” only.
It’s a gift. Not a reward. Not a trophy. Not a prize. Not earned. (To be sure there’s a time for learning about sowing and earning.)
Christmas is not that time.
It never was. Never will be.
It’s about an imperfect, dark and lost world receiving the most perfect gift in the most improbable way. And in our home I tell my son “no matter what you do, you’re getting Christmas gifts. Because I love you. Not because you’ve been good enough. But, because you are mine. It’s what God did for us.”