When Gifts are Big and the Gospel is Small .

(The Fauxtography Project, part six)
Not surprisingly, Graeme already equates Christmas with gifts. I love his boyish excitement at just the sight of the Christmas aisle in Target. "It's the Christmas time, mommy!". (I'm loving the random articles in his sentences these days.) I have no desire to squelch his newly found delight in all things Christmas, but I do want to couple it to the beauty of Christ. And that is difficult. For one, he's three. And also? Gifts are just so captivating to a three year old! Actually, to thirty-one-year-olds too.

Christmas is complicated because we make it complicated. Gifts trump the gospel because we let them. But, on the flip side, that child-like wonder of Christmas that we see in our children's faces can easily be crushed, too, if we major on the Joy of Heaven without linking it to the joys of earth. Because, in a sense, we are Christmas to our children. I know, I know. That statement sounds like heresy, but it really isn't. Read this article if you're preparing to mentally 'burn me at the stake'. (smile)

So, for me, it boils down to this: prayerful intentionality. (It usually does with anything in life, doesn't it?) Here are my intentions for coalescing all of these aspects of Christmas. I would love to hear your plans too! 

First off, I am really looking forward to doing a book Advent calendar. (This blog explains it well.) Each night, beginning on December 1st, we'll open a Christmas-themed book. Some of the books will be about the everyday joys of Christmas and where our holiday traditions stem from and others will be about the birth and life of Jesus. But all of them will give opportunities for discussion and learning which, at this age of three, is a wonderful thing. I am already anticipating the "what this is?" and "what these are?" questions.

Before I had children, I kind of scoffed at the idea of a birthday cake for Jesus. I mean, seriously, Jesus does not need cake. And that's true, but our children might. They need to see us celebrate the birth of Jesus and hoop and holler just like we do for their special day. And in the mind of my three year old, a birthday cake is tops. The top of the tops. The organic, chocolate covered cherry on top, wink! I'm sure the 'top of the tops' looks different for many children and I'd love to hear your thoughts on that as well.

I want to make sure that I haven't given the impression that just because I want to focus on giving my children the gospel throughout Christmas doesn't mean that I won't also be giving them gifts. In fact, that is one way that I plan to share the gospel with them! These gifts pale in comparison to God's gift to us. Common sense to us, I'm sure, but hopefully a little seed will be planted in their hearts. I'll end this post by sharing our plan for gift-giving. In addition to participating in a few community gift-giving opportunities, (I am thrilled to participate in Operation Christmas Child for the first time!) here is our family plan. And, although the plan is simple, it is very adequate. Last year, we put it into action and, well, there's a reason that we're giving it another go this year! 


I'd love to hear your thoughts and plans for the Christmas season, if you have time to share. Any special ways of celebrating, long-standing traditions, meaningful books-- I'd love to hear it all. Thanks for reading here and happy Monday to you. And, by the way, don't forget to enter the $50 Cranny giveaway. Tomorrow is the last day of the giveaway!

28 comments:

  1. Good things to think about! :)
    And I LOVE Operation Christmas Child! Started as a tradition back when I was in high school, I look forward to it every year!

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  2. Katie, you're a pro and I probably need to get some tips from you on OCC! I meant to ask you if you are planning to goto the Portland blogger meetup this week. I don't really have any desire to go by myself :}

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  3. Anonymous6:31 PM

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  4. Oh YAY! We are doing Operation Christmas Child for the first time too!!!! We just went out tonite and got everything and the kids were THRILLED. Oh my goodness. We watched every single video on the site..and cried and are so excited to track our boxes as they go.

    And we really enjoy a cake for Jesus too.

    Another thing I have been researching are the rescue missions in the area. Hoping to help out with some of their Christmas needs.

    CRA-CRA-Crazy how greedy the kids can get...but how quickly they can get excited about the important things when we get excited about the important things.

    I love your 4 things to give plan.

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  5. Oh dear friend. This is such a struggle. One thing that I find very hard is the extended family. We want to raise humble, gracious, APPRECIATIVE kids. But when they have so many people around them ready to buy whatever they might even think about wanting at the drop of a hat...it is hard. And at the same time, who complains about being so blessed that they are able or have the support system around them that is able to give so generously??? It is just hard. We tell the family to please keep it simple every year, and every year it is over the top. I could go on and on about this subject! For our immediate family I am doing an advent calendar this year for the first time and putting things on it that folks on doing for others, giving to others. There will be fun, simple, even silly stuff too...but OTHERS centered. Instead of making ginger bread houses this year we will make a nativity together. Sounds silly, but puts the focus on something other than just how much candy can I get on one house this year! I love to hear other families thoughts...this is a great conversation to have.

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  6. oh my. I need to meet with you ladies over coffee to discuss this. So. much. here. ! Thank you for your thoughts-- so good!

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