Christmas gifts may be the things that our children look forward to this Christmas season—and that may be a problem.
It’s no parenting secret that spoiled children are often provoked to materialism by the abundance of toys. But is it the best solution to limit or even prohibit the presence of gifts under the tree come Christmas morning?
Growing up in a generous home, I was the recipient of multiple gifts from my parents alone. They weren’t always fancy and expensive, but there was always more presents to open come every Christmas. But with all the gifts, I distinctly remember Christmas never being clouded simply by my desire for gifts. Sure I’d be excited, but it would never eat me up.
To this day, I don’t consider myself to be a very materialistic person. I have no expensive gadgets apart from those I use for work, and it takes me one week to decide on purchasing a piece of wardrobe, carefully considering whether it’s truly needed or not.
The Message Gifts Bring
The presence of gifts can either give one of two major messages: Gifts as an example of God’s grace and the love others have for you, or as a distraction from the things that truly matter.
The message is highly dependent not only on the presence or absence of gifts, but by a whole lot of other factors as well—the manner by which we give, the manner by which our children receive, how we explain gifts to them and so on.
But it’s never necessary to withhold gifts just because we assume our children will selfishly misappropriate them. Even our Heavenly Father delights in giving us free gifts of eternal life, blessing, breakthrough, and His presence.
Pray for Your Child’s Heart to Be Guided to the Right Message
The prayer I pray for my child and for all children this Christmas season is one I encourage you to pray as well: a prayer to guide the hearts and minds of our children as they receive gifts.
The Holy Spirit can and will guide our children to focus on the giving as much as the receiving, the gift-givers more than the gifts themselves, and the hope in Christ more than the hope in material things.
Christmas gift-giving has indeed become a big part of the Christmas tradition, but it’s not central and primary. Gifts are tools to further strengthen the message of the true gift that is found only in Christ Jesus who enables us to love one another and be generous in all occasions, not just during Christmas.