Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Is All About the Gifts!

Let's face it; gift giving can be messy.

Each year, kids get more and more, yet still expect even more the next year.

Luckily, we're catching our children at good ages to start a new Christmas gift tradition in our home.

This year, each of my children will be receiving three, yes, JUST three gifts on Christmas morning. Laced only with a stocking full of goodies!

Now before too many people begin feeling sorry for my children, I invite you to my house at anytime to see their rooms slam full of toys and clothes! They have gracious plenty!

Besides, I'm not exactly sure when Christmas became about the amount of gifts stacked under the tree with your name on them! But somewhere between the birth of our Savior up until now, Christmas has morphed into something so commercialized it's no wonder people fail to recognize the meaning of the season! With it's super commercialization, I struggle to see the benefit of creating such expectancy for gifts in my children!  I want their expectancy to be preparation of their hearts for His return, not the world's latest and greatest toy that will be played with for ten minutes then tossed aside or broken the very next day.

Now don't get me wrong, THIS IS HARD!! The commercials and store ads work on me as well! Narrowing my selection down to three things has been most difficult for me, but we are aiming to drive home a message with our children that will stick for years to come.

Holding fast to our priorities of keeping Christ the center of Christmas in our home, we thought three gifts would be most appropriate seeing as how baby Jesus received three gifts on the blessed night He was born! In Matthew, it tells of the wise men who traveled to see this baby:

Matthew 2:7-11

7Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." 9After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
After reading this story most recently to prepare how we would teach it to our children this year, I wanted to look up the meaning of the gifts given to Jesus.
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. 
I've read over it so many times, but never considered the value of the gifts.

All three of these gifts were of such extreme value in these times. Only fit for wealthy adults, not a lowly child, lying His head on the hay in a stable. What were they thinking?

Gold. A gift of Royalty.

Frankincense. A valuable incense used as a direct connection with the worship of God according to Jewish customs. It's smell was so sweet when burning in the temple. A true representation of sweet worship.

And, Myrrh. The strangest gift of all. Myrrh was used for burials in that time. It was used to rub on the bodies in order to cover the stench of death. So, why would they give this to a newborn baby? Could it be that the wise men knew He was BORN TO DIE?

Though these three gifts have such new and powerful meaning to me now, I think over the years I have always failed to see the first and most important gift on that star-lit evening. This gift was bestowed voluntarily without the thought of compensation. This gift was.......WORSHIP!

Before the wise men could even manage to hand over the first of their treasures, they bowed down to worship this Emmanuel!

THIS is what I want my children to know of Christmas gifts! 

We will take the time to focus on Him and give Him these same gifts. This year we will acknowledge His royalty. We will acknowledge that He is God with us, and we have a direct connection with Him through worship. We have a "real"ationship! We will recognize that He was born on this earth to die; to die for all of us! And although He left this earth in His death, He sent His sweet holy spirit to abide with us with a promise to return one day for us. Because of all this, I can't help but first worship Him in the beauty of his holiness!

Worship Him together as a family this year! Before you unwrap gifts, spend some time in prayer together. Thank Him for your blessings of life! I don't want my children to recognize Santa as a bearer of gifts; I don't even want them to recognize us, as parents. I want them to recognize Christ from whom all blessings flow! Take the time to tell your kids about your salvation stories. They need to hear them, especially at Christmas time! What better time to share of this redemptive love! Act out the story of Jesus' birthday with the Nativity set. Buy samples of the oils at a wholefoods store and let them smell the fragrances of the gifts. Find every way possible to expose the true meaning of Christmas; it IS in fact, about the gifts! THE FOUR GIFTS! Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! Do whatever it takes this year to stray from these man evolved traditions, and hold true to meaning of this season!


*I'm sure some of you are already wondering why I'm only giving my children three gifts if I mentioned four gifts for Jesus. They will also be given the a gift of money in which they have to decide how to spend in order to give to someone else or an organization of their choice! We'll see how that goes! 
Now, tell me. What are some of your Christmas traditions of how you incorporate Christ?

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  1. The whole gift giving thing is so hard. We want to bless others, including our kids, but we also want Christmas to be about Christ. We do give gifts to our children. They normally each get four gifts. A couple of years it was five and a couple only three, but the average is four in our house. Hubby and I give each other one thing. But before we ever even walk into the living room, we pray and focus on Christ telling Him happy birthday and thanking Him for His blessings. Great post Lindsay!

  2. I agree that finding the perfect gift is difficult and I often give up and purchase a gift card so they can select what they want.
    I am thankful that God offers us His Gift Card where all the blessings are!

  3. If you are feeling guilty about the 3 gifts, know that we have decided to do none in our home :) Our daughter is only approaching 2 years old so she doesn't have a tradition of receiving gifts yet. We are hoping to help her see that her birthday is a day for celebrating the gift God gave us in her, and Christmas is a day for celebrating Jesus and giving gifts to him. I love reading posts where others are doing similar. Makes me feel like we're not crazy as we let go of the commercial aspect of the day and focus on worship. And thanks for the bit of history. I know I heard the meaning of the gifts before but had forgotten about the significance of the myrrh! So amazing...

  4. I like your idea to limit the gifts to three plus the goodies. I was fortunate to receive one gift when I was growing up. Now I have the best gift of all, Jesus