“And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, “It is better to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
The Advent season seems to open our eyes to more opportunities to give monetarily and to serve others. It also seems to provide opportunities for our “gimmies” to creep to the surface. In the Bernestein Bears children’s book titled, The Bernestain Bears Get the Gimmies, we see Brother Bear and Sister Bear at the store with their parents. They encounter so many items they MUST HAVE for themselves,and Momma Bear is wise to see that her cubs, like many of us, have succumbed to self-focused desires.
We are called as parents and caretakers to participate in the shaping of our children into the likeness of Jesus Christ. However, stores and advertisements on television and the internet are marketing to our kids and telling them a story that reads something along these lines. “You must have this item to be happy.” “You will not have the perfect Christmas unless you own this.” “You are missing out if you don’t get that.” We want to give our children and grandchildren wonderful gifts that will bring them excitement and joy. We want them to open their gifts with shouts of joy and awe.
Our call as parents and caregivers is to tell a different story, to tell a story that is woven throughout the Bible. We must teach our children that it is better (more blessed) to give than to receive. We must teach them to lay aside their wants and desires and focus on the needs of others. And, here is the key to laying down our wants. We realize that others in our town, in our region, in our country, and in other parts of the world have real needs, not just fun wants. They need water, food, clothes, and shelter. We take the Word of God and teach our kids to turn their eyes away from themselves and onto Jesus. We see how Jesus left the comfort of heaven and gave his life and his body for the salvation of world. We remember these beautiful truths and we turn our eyes to those who have real needs, and we serve and give to them. Now, we are following Jesus as we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Here are some ways you and your family can give and serve others this Christmas season:
- Food Bank/Pantry– check into donating food to the Lincoln Street Food Pantry or The Good Samaritan (located in Dalhart) or the Food Bank in Amarillo.
- Salvation Army– most retail stores provide an opportunity to give to Salvation Army right there in front of the store. Encourage your kids to give some toward that ministry.
- Compassion International– you can give your children money to purchase items for families/kids in need in other countries. You can go out to their website www.compassion.com, where you are able to purchase chickens, water well, goats, mosquito netting, school supplies, etc.…
- Purchase gifts for one another: Give your kids money or have them work for money to purchase gifts for each other. Teach them to consider their sibling and what they would enjoy receiving for Christmas. This is a great way to teach them to think of others. The joy they receive from watching their brother or sister excited about a Christmas gift they purchased for them, is worth more than receiving a gift themselves.