Christmas is upon us! With only a few days left until the big holiday, there’s an increased amount of hurried busyness and rushing around with last minute preparations. I’m trying to intentionally take a ‘time-out’ to reflect on a few important items this Christmas. I hope you’ll join me.
What exactly IS Christmas? I had a recent discussion with my friend, Pastor Nick Twomey, in which he shared that nearly 49% of Americans now believe that Christmas is a cultural holiday–nothing more. It got us thinking–and inspired us. Nick and I would like to invite you to the Bill Marsh Hyundai showroom on Saturday, December 23rd, as we explore the true meaning of Christmas, how it relates directly to us as individuals, and how it can transform lives. Can’t make it to the dealership? We’ll be offering the discussion via Facebook Live, as well. We’ll put the coffee on at 8:30am and start the live broadcast at 9:00am. I hope you can join us!
As I explore the true meaning of Christmas, and how to grow generosity during this time of year, it can feel especially difficult with our culture of consumerism. After all, this is the season of giving. I have been honored to support Love INC during this 10th anniversary season of SwingShift and the Stars. We had a blast during the big Disco Ball event on December 15th, and while Sharon and I didn’t ‘win’ the big dance off, Love INC has been winning big by participating in this season of SwingShift, both in raising awareness for the important work they’re doing in the community–work that no other organization is doing!–and in donations. And it’s not over yet! I wanted to offer an encouraging reminder that Love INC’s SwingShift and the Stars campaign continues through December 31st. It’s a great opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year.
And finally, I’m sharing a post from Michael Hyatt entitled Growing Generosity in Your Kids at Christmas. What if for every gift on your wish list, you had to match it with a gift you plan to give? His article offers an inspiring perspective on nurturing the giving spirit in our children–and it definitely extends to adults. Check it out:
Ahhh, Christmas. It just may be the most wonderful time of the year. Every year, however, parents are reminded of how much our culture has impacted the minds of our children. For instance, we all talk about Christmas being a time of giving — but let’s face it, the first thing kids want to do in December is to make their own Christmas list of what they’ll get, not give.
So here’s an idea.
First, why not start a tradition. Along with creating their own “wish list,” your kids make out a list of the gifts they plan to give away to others. This could include people they know and perhaps people they don’t know. The gifts can be ones they buy with their own money, or some of their own possessions they treasure.
Let’s take it a step further. What if for every gift they put on their wish list, they have to match it with a gift they plan to give away—one of their own toys, dolls, electronic devices, or games? This may just balance their “giving and receiving” experience a bit more. Then, they select a family less fortunate, and make an anonymous drop-off to that family. (Remember “ding dong ditch”?)
I know of a mom and dad who had their kids go through all their toys one December and make two piles. The first pile would include the toys they planned on giving away; the second, toys they felt were worth keeping. (This made room for the new toys they’d soon receive on Christmas.)
The clincher was, this mom and dad talked about sacrificial giving, and shared how they planned to give one of their cars to a needy family. Then, they had their children give away the pile of toys they had planned to keep.
Sacrifice is true generosity. It was hard for a few moments, but unforgettable in the end. Those kids still talk about that incredible experience four years later.
Jesus reminds us:
“This poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned” (Mark 12:43-44).
What can you do this Christmas to teach generosity to your kids? How can you apply the same philosophies to your own adult life? I’d love to hear your feedback.