“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Christmas is often referred to as a time of giving, but as we all know, it is a time of getting too. In fact, it sometimes seems we focus more on the getting than the giving. Especially if we are talking about kids– making their wish lists for family and Santa. The younger they are, the more self focused they are. In their mind, the world revolves around them, so it makes sense that part of the meaning of Christmas is what do they want and what will they get. This can look different, depending on the kids.
- Listing out all the things they hope to find under the tree.
- Asking for the hottest toy of the year.
- Assigning family members what gifts to buy so they don’t get duplicate presents.
You get the idea.
I think back to the story of Jesus’ birth, and all the different events and people involved. I can’t help but think about the wise men and their contribution.
The wise men had read the prophecies and knew the signs of the coming Messiah. Night after night they looked to the sky waiting for the star to appear. Once that star appeared, they wasted no time following to the Son of God. When they arrived, they presented Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It took time and effort for them to express their spirit of giving.
The wise men did not show up with their list of what they hoped to receive. Instead, they had waited and planned. They studied, waited and watched. And they had a spirit of giving about them, as they carried gifts worthy of a king.
Spirit of Giving
As Christmas approaches, keep this in mind, and have some family discussions. How can you be like the wise men and change your attitude from getting to giving?
Family Action Steps:
Just in case you can’t think of any way to work on the spirit of giving in your family this year, here are a few ideas.
- Make a list of people you can get gifts for, instead of a list of gifts you want them to get you.
- Ring the Salvation Army bell together
- Bake cookies for teachers or neighbors
- Volunteer at the local soup kitchen
- Go Christmas shopping for Angel Tree, or adopt a family
How can you make this Christmas a season of giving instead of getting? Post a comment and let me know.