Thursday, December 8, 2011

17 Days : Better to Give

As the kids get older it is easier for them to understand what our focus needs to be at Christmas. We are working hard at teaching them it is better to give than to receive. It is easier to say "no, you don't need another gaming system, if that means we can provide for those in need during Christmas". I loved the recent words I read in our Advent study this year {Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie} -
By putting our focus on giving to others and meeting their very real needs, we can battle the greed in our hearts. Christmas is a season not of getting, but of giving, because at Christmas we are celebrating that God is the most generous and outrageous Giver in the universe. After all he gave to us his Son. Proverbs says, "Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!" Proverbs 21:26
What really stood out to me in that paragraph was the words "meeting their real needs". The kids and I talked about how we should be providing for those less fortunate than us. We should not get caught up in the feelings of 'we need more'. We have a roof over our heads, closets overflowing with clothes and shoes, and cabinets and a refrigerator full of food - as do most of our friends and family. Do our children really need more toys, do I need another knick knack for the house?

So today, in that spirit, we went out and bought gifts for underprivileged children. We have been blessed with an opportunity to participate in giving a Christmas party next week for an at-risk early childhood development center in downtown Atlanta begun by a pastor who experienced the loss of one of her own children. It is in these moments or opportunities we are presented that I am reminded of the fact that this is what Christmas is about.

I have not always felt this way, trust me, I was one of those who had to buy extravagant gifts to feel like it was Christmas. I remind myself of that when I get caught up in conversations with friends droning on and on about the "hundreds or thousands they are spending this Christmas on their children and relatives {some of whom are well off and not in need of a thing}." Making a drastic change like we have can be hard but, I will share with you this, I have found it leads to a much more joyful spirit filled feeling at the end of the Christmas season.

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