“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
“For it is in giving that we receive.” Francis of Assisi
- Call your prayer partner today for your 10-minute prayer call.
- Time with your precious Savior is on the horizon. Silence your phone and find a quiet place. Get comfortable with your Bible, a pen and journal, and a warm drink.
- Please read 2 Corinthians 9:8-11 in your Bible. Copy verse 11 down in your journal or on an index card. Keep it close to you this week and share it with your children, too!
The Joy of Giving at Christmas
As parents, we love to bestow gifts upon our children. Seeing the joy on their faces is our gift. Children unanimously adore receiving gifts, and isn’t it interesting how no one has to teach them how to enjoy the gifts they love and desire? Likewise, no one has to teach us how to give to our children. We love our families, so we give. Giving absolutely comes from an overflow of love from our hearts!
How do we share that overflow with our children? I think we have to focus on three things: Christ’s unconditional love for us, His desire for us to love other people unconditionally, and that we have been given the greatest gift of all in Him. Through His love and His sacrifice, we have been guided towards generosity. Genuine, free giving, without regret, is an expression of thanksgiving to God! This can be an extremely difficult concept for young children to understand, but it is essential for us to lay the foundation of this principle down for them at an early age.
Proverbs 11:24-25 (ESV) says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” My children (ages 10, 8, 7, and 2) and I recently discussed these verses, and I explained to them that they simply mean the more we grasp and hoard, the more we need. Also, when we give freely and generously, we find that we’re happier, healthier, and experience more blessings. Wow! All kids can comprehend that, and the tangible way to show them is to invite them to experience the joy of generosity firsthand.
Teaching our children to enjoy giving requires focus and attention. As parents, we have to first model the behavior in our actions and in how we speak. We need to live out what Jesus says in Acts 20:35, that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” As December and Christmas near, we should prayerfully emphasize the people in our lives and notice their needs. Our children will come alongside us and truly enjoy this process if we set a tone of happiness and sacrifice.
In our home, it always starts with a list. Bringing my children into the Christmas gift-giving planning and list-making is a fun day, especially when we do it with hot chocolate! We encourage them to consider who would enjoy what kind of present. My girls are then moved to think of other people first and foremost, and you will see Philippians 2:3-4 in action right before your eyes! “….but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
Once the presents are purchased, set up a wrapping station to get your kids in the festive and joyful spirit! I let my three girls wrap almost all of our extended family’s presents and also handwrite the gift tags. It is always so fun for me to see them smiling throughout the whole process, but the best moment is when the presents are opened. Christmas day or Christmas Eve will no longer be consumed with your kids and their new toys. They will be thrilled to give, and their hearts will be in the right place for them to learn and hear from the Lord.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Search your own heart. How are you doing in the generosity department? Honestly, do you find that giving to others is a cheerful act or is it a chore to you?
- Answer this question with me: Lord, how can I make one simple change to model joyful giving to my children this Christmas?
If you have an elementary-aged child or older, assign them one relative that they are solely responsible for this Christmas, preferably a cousin or a close family friend’s child because kids love buying and decorating/wrapping gifts for other kids! Encourage your child(ren) to pray for this person as they are planning their gift.
During the month of December, my girls and I focus on praying for our extended family. We pray they will feel loved, appreciated, and noticed this Christmas season. If you have non-Christian relatives, this is a fantastic opportunity to pray over the gift and card you made. Pray the Holy Spirit speaks to them through your gift. What a simple, yet powerful way to add prayer, thoughtfulness, and discipleship into gift giving!