December 17, 2017

John 3:16

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

 

The Greatest Gift Ever Given.

You Do Not Really Know Christmas Joy Until You Know The Joy Of 
Jesus [Church Marquee] 

He Who Has Not Christmas In His Heart Will Never Find It Under A 
Tree. - Roy L. Smith 

Christmas Is A Gift From God That A Man Cannot Keep Unless He 
Gives It To Someone Else. - Anonymous. 

The True Gifts Of Christmas By Gordon Botting, DrPH, CHES.
   
For just a few moments, imagine with me this family scenario 
on Christmas morning:  
   Jon and Susan are awakened by the sounds of their only child, 
Charlie, racing down the stairs to see what Santa Claus has left him 
under the Christmas tree. Slowly they open their eyes, wishing they 
could sleep in a few more moments. It takes them a few minutes to 
adjust to the new morning. They look at the ticking clock by their 
bedside with half-sleep eyelids blinking in disbelief. It is only six 
minutes past six o'clock. 
   However, like most parents, Jon and Susan scramble to the 
staircase and down the stairs to see firsthand the reactions of their 
child as he opens his many lovingly wrapped presents.  
   Charlie dives under the tree and retrieves the largest 
present labeled with his name and tears it open with joyful 
anticipation. It was exactly what he had wished for - a large Lego train set. 
Then he opens in succession smaller, distinctively wrapped and 
labeled presents in which he finds a baseball glove, a new video game 
and an action figure. His eyes are as large as saucers as he 
exclaims: "Great! What else is for me?"  
   More tearing and flinging of Christmas paper reveals a 
coloring book from Cousin Jean, a piggy bank that lights up when you put 
coins in its top from Granddad and a homemade scarf from Aunt 
Stephanie. Charlie's inner spirit begins to show itself as he disdainfully 
throws the last item to one side and hollers, "I don't want this scarf, 
it's ugly!"  
   Next he opens a radio controlled helicopter and immediately 
looks over at his father and with scornful brow exclaims, "Not this 
one! I told you, Dad, the other one was what I wanted!" His mother, 
Susan, quickly consoles him, "Don't worry, tomorrow we'll take it back 
to the store and get you the right one." Charlie sulks as he prods 
through the pile of wrapping paper and finally says out loud and with an 
irritable voice, "Is this all I got for Christmas?" 
 
   Well meaning parents give of their time and resources to make 
December 25 a special day for their children, but unfortunately Christmas 
morning drama similar to Charlie's happen in too many homes. Here are 
few suggestions that may help change your children's attitude as to 
what Christmas is all about and bring back the true Yule-tide spirit. 
 
   Giving Value To Christmas 
   The first part of your Christmas plan should not be dollars 
and cents but what spiritual values you would like your family to 
experience during this season. These could include some or all of the 
following ways to make Christ the reason for the season: joining your 
church's choir for its special Christmas evening service, or charitably 
reaching out to the less fortunate in your community. Why not include the 
Christmas simplicity that was part of your grandparent's era: each week in 
December visit a beautifully lighted street in your city, exchange gifts 
that were not bought in a retail store, eat goodies created in your 
very own kitchen, and experience the true joy of the season with 
friends and relatives.  
   What's On Your Christmas Bucket List? 
   Does your child give you his or her Christmas bucket list and 
inform you that everything is a must have? Sadly, most children have no 
concept of how much the items they have requested really cost. First, 
make it absolutely clear that mom and/or dad do not have unlimited 
resources (like Santa Claus seems to have). Secondly, inform them that you 
have a set amount of money for their gifts. Thirdly, have them 
prioritize the gifts on their list and research the prices. This will be an 
opportunity for you to show them how to budget, how to watch for weekend 
sales and look for items at discount retailers. If their first item 
costs more than what you have set, have the child make up the 
difference by saving their allowance, or doing extra chores.  
 
  Reach Out To Others 
   Encourage your children to make a list of families or 
individuals to remember this Christmas season. Bless your neighbors by 
having your children bake them a variety of cookies and deliver them in 
nice Christmas tins. Adopt a family from a charity's Angel Tree 
program and let each member of your family contribute one or two items 
for the adopted family's basket. Many organizations have an Adopt an 
Orphan program to which you can give a certain amount of money per 
month. This type of activity helps keep the Christmas spirit alive 
throughout the whole year. 
 
   Give What You Do Best 
   Foster the idea of your children creatively providing giving 
from the heart gifts. These are gifts of time, energy and talent and 
could include projects such as babysitting, shopping, gardening, etc. 
Have them create unique gift certificates which might say: six hours 
of errand running, one night a month babysitting for the next six 
months, or four hours of house cleaning. Remember to have a redemption 
date at the bottom.  
   Start An Annual Tradition 
   The most memorable parts of the Christmas season revolve 
around those activities that have absolutely nothing to do with money 
or exchanging gifts. For example, make it a special family outing 
to pick out a fresh Christmas tree - or better yet, cut your own 
tree at a local Christmas tree farm. One year when our children were 
young, each child had a paper house with lots of windows and doors that 
could be opened and each day during the month of December they opened 
a window or door to view a spiritual aspect of the true Christmas 
story. 
 
   Sharing with others is not normally the first thing children 
and teenagers think of when they think of Christmas. By instilling 
the habit of giving when they are young they are much more likely to 
continue to have a spirit of generosity, not only during the Yule-tide 
season, but throughout their lives.
Categories: Freedom From Fear

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