Friday, December 28, 2012

A Gift for Him

I know that Christmas Day has passed and many people are moving on, but I can't let the season end without recording this new tradition. (And I am afraid I will forget to write about this next year if I wait!)

Last week, my friend Courtney shared this link from Delia Creates regarding giving Christmas gifts to Jesus. It is such a simple but memorable exercise: Have everyone write down something they can give the Lord and wrap it in a box as a Christmas gift for Him before you get into the more commercial gift exchange.

I loved the idea because it really seemed to practically express what I had been wrestling with through Advent: How can I help my children (and myself) really 'get it' that Christmas is not OUR birthday?
The implementation was so simple and sweet. Over our Christmas Eve dinner of chicken brunswick stew, I asked everyone to consider something they could give to the Lord this year.

We have been fans of the book Ronnie Wilson's Gift by Francis Chan for sometime, so the children's immediate response was to think of something to physically give to someone else. We talked just a little about how it could be something difficult we committed to God or a new habit we could work on as an expression of our love for the Lord. Their answers were precious!

K: "I promise to play or cheer up others when they are left out."
R: "I will trust Him and not just wowre (worry)"
P: "I will try not to use a bad tone of voice."
Seeing these written in their 8 year old handwriting, misspellings and all...priceless!

I am not the craftiest girl, so I recycled a box and ribbon from a gift I'd already opened. Each of us wrote our offerings on gift tags I'd received from Cabell. (Courtney mentioned that her family wrote their gifts on the back of a family picture. I may copy that next year!) After dinner everyone excitedly wrote down their offerings and we put them in the box, said a little prayer of commitment and thanks, then slipped our package under the tree.

As I put away Christmas decorations, I plan to pack our gift box and revisit it on Christmas Eve next year. I loved this precious alternative to "New Year's Resolutions" and hope it can become a special part of our Annual Christmas tradition.

These commitments have already sparked a couple of conversations with the children. It was especially powerful for them to hear what my husband & I each were offering to the Lord.

As time goes by in my parenting journey I am continually reminded how the simplest ideas can be the most powerful. I am grateful to Courtney & Delia for passing this one along!


Love Being A Nonny said...

Love this idea...and love that when they are 16 they can look back at what they offered to Him.

His Doorkeeper said...

What an awesome idea for young children! You are such a thoughtful mother to instill such memories in your children while they are still under your wings!

dee said...

Great idea!

Peter and Nancy said...

We started a similar thing this year too . . . writing down the things we did for His birthday (helping with the church's Christmas musical, giving a shoebox to a child in Mexico, etc.). And for New Year's Eve, we will be choosing a child to sponsor through Compassion. But I love the idea of something intangible that reflects where our hearts are . . . we will definitely add that to our New Year's Eve!

Tee and Hubby said...

When my dear friend's boys were very young they started baking a birthday cake for Jesus. First thing on Christmas morning they would sing happy birthday to Jesus and then eat the birthday cake. Those three boys are grown and have children of their own, all three have carried on the tradition of the birthday cake with their children. I'm sure this tradition will be passed down for many generation in this precious family.

jess said...

Best idea ever-- love it!