If all of us would sit down with our kids and ask them what Christmas is about, most of them would say it's about Santa Claus and presents. Hopefully, many children will remember it is the time of year when we celebrate Jesus' birthday.
But we all know what secret hopes are driving the lives of our children throughout the month of December, the thoughts that course their little minds at Christmas from dawn 'til dusk: "What will I get?"
Most of us experienced the same great level of anticipation and fervor for Christmas as little kids ourselves. I also know that as a parent one of my greatest joys this time of year is purchasing, wrapping and proudly displaying many fine gifts for my children. It's the time of year when parents get to say "yes" to their children's longing for the latest toy or gadget, and what a feeling that is as a parent to know that the very thing they've been hoping for is sitting right there, wrapped neatly beneath the tree. Our gift is watching them open theirs, seeing their joy-filled eyes and the sweet hugs and kisses that follow.
Having said all that, I'd like to bring to light an old idea sometimes forgotten in the hustle of all the "getting" we need to accomplish for our own family's Christmas. We need to remind ourselves and our children that this is the time of year for giving, not just to our friends and family, but to make it our goal, in each of our homes, to give to someone who is truly needy.
Stop for just a second and think what our world would be like if each of us, in our own little family, made it our goal at Christmas time to find a way to reach out to the needy. Wow! Many of us are blessed as Americans that we can provide a few nice gifts for our children at Christmas, but what must it feel like to wake up on Christmas morning with little or nothing to offer your children?
Next time you're out shopping, keep these thoughts in your mind. How must that feel? I hope I never know, but in the meantime, I wonder what I can do to help.
Someday, when your children are grown, what do you want them to be like? Will yours be the type to stop and drop a few coins into the Salvation Army's bucket on their way into the store? Will they be the type to send a few dollars every month to help a destitute child in another country? Will they be the type to look for ways to help the helpless in the world around them? Will they feel that gentle tugging at their hearts to have mercy and reach out to their fellow human being?
Or will they be the kind who walks on by, pretending the needy do not exist?
So back to my question: What can you do to help? Here's what you can do: Make it your goal every Christmas to give as a family. Donate food or volunteers for places such as Halifax Urban Ministries or the Salvation Army, participate in Operation Christmas Child, or pick an "angel" off a tree at Wal-Mart to shop for.
There are even ministries that allow you to purchase farm animals for needy families overseas. These animals will give milk and eggs for these needy families and help them with farming.
I'm sure you can find many other ways to give to the needy; these are just a few, but find a way to give and give! When you do give, talk to your children about what life must be like for a needy child at Christmas and how hard things are for needy families this time of year. Then discuss what your family is doing to help. Talk about these things with your children, and you will get a very great gift indeed; you will bring up a child who will look with compassion on the world around him. You will have done your part.
Merry CHRISTmas to you all!
One last thing, when you think about how much to give, remember that Christ gave His all. Now, what will you give?
"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses," Proverbs 28:27.
Ruthie Davidson is a mother of four children, ages 5 to 10. She lives in South Daytona and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.