A Jesus Gift Under the Tree

Christmas morning should be a spectacularly fun time for a family. Stockings, presents, family, and church make the day joyful and fill the digital cameras with fun pictures to share. It is fun to be parents on Christmas day!

Your kids made a list and you are checking it twice. One of the most difficult challenges of the Christmas season is having to say “no” to a wanted gift, or choosing to eliminate some of what your kids said they wanted. Sometimes kids ask for a gift their parent doesn’t want to give. For example, a fourth grader with a smart phone 24/7 is usually a bad idea. What do we do when our kids want something they shouldn’t have? Will it ruin Christmas if it isn’t under the tree?

No one gets everything they want in life. Christmas is a good time to teach children that important truth. Christmas isn’t supposed to be about getting everything we want; it is supposed to be about getting some things you want and some things you need. If your child has asked for something you are not going to give them, sit them down ahead of Christmas morning and tell them. Take some time, ahead of time, and tell them why. (Follow through with what you told them.) Then, Christmas morning hopefully won’t include unexpected disappointment.

Christmas is also a great opportunity for parents to teach their kids what they want for them. As the gifts start piling up under the tree, take an inventory. Is there a gift that tells your child what you, as a parent, consider to be important for Christmas?

Every year we gave our kids a Jesus gift. It didn’t have to be large, expensive, or on their Christmas wish list. We bought Christian CDs, T-shirts, posters, plaques, books, devotionals, and things that sit on a shelf. Every year there was a moment, in the flurry of toys, electronics, clothes and “stuff,” to remember that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus.

Have you considered a Jesus gift for each person in your family? If not, add an extra stop to your busy “to do list” for this week. Spend some time in a Christian book store and give your children a reminder that Jesus is “the reason for the season.”

My kids eventually packed their stuff to head to college. I was thrilled to see a couple of those “Jesus gifts” thrown into their boxes. Of all the gifts I bought over the years, those were often the gifts that were kept. They were the presents that told my boys, “This is what I want for you” and joyfully represented what my boys grew to want for themselves.

Christmas day is an important day for a family. Find a way for your family to include the most important reason to celebrate. Give a “Jesus gift” to those you love. Years later I smile and know this verse is truth:

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity?

By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9).

 Christmas is a celebration of Jesus, “the Word” and the light of the world. Give a gift that will remind everyone in your family of Jesus this Christmas morning.