Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Real Christmas

My kids are awesome. Really. They're not perfect but they're mine. And they've got really good hearts. It's easy to pick out their individual strengths and weaknesses, but I'm not doing that. This post isn't about that.

A few of our Family Home Evenings this time of year inevitably focus on the spirit of giving. Not on making your lists, and mailing them to Santa. Not on making sure Mom and Dad are fully aware of everything you want. But on what you can do for others. I actually have a great follow up planned for next week.

We don't do this every year because our kids are greedy or selfish. Rather, we do it to foster their giving natures. I want them to always be this way. I want them to grow up realizing that each of us has the power to impact the lives of others--for good or for ill, it's our choice.

Usually there's a secondary motive. We're always doing Christmas on a budget. This year is no different, except the budget is a bit larger than we're accustomed to. And when we made our list there were several things the kids discussed wanting to do. For other people. Donating to the food bank. Helping a family with their Christmas. Reaching out to a loved one turned curmudgeon.

But this year things are going to be a little different. The more I take stock of our extended family the more I realize that the people we help don't have to be anonymous faces. There are several members of our extended family who are struggling for basic needs. I've been there. The kids have been there. We all understand what that's like, how it feels. And I'm confident--no, I'm certain--once I point out those facts to them they will *want* to help. God has been good to us. We can certainly pass that along.

Like I said, I have good kids.

So we're just going to turn our focus ever so slightly inward. It may mean the girls don't get brand new beds but rather get the beds they have fixed up to last another few months. That's okay. It may mean the boys have to wait till their birthday to get that weight bench set. That's not too far off.

One of the neatest things about doing good for others is how it spreads, like ripples on a pond. Filling hearts with warmth and love is never a wasted effort.

Merry Christmas!