Christmas is such a special and exciting time of year. All of the senses are awoken with mulled wine; twinkling lights; carols; turkey; and kissing under the mistletoe. It’s a season of opulence, of feasting, of resting with loved ones, and of joy.
There are so many wonderful things to celebrate.
There are so many things to be thankful for, not least of these is the incarnation of our astonishingly self-giving and generous God!
Christmas is the time of year where we especially remember the coming of Christ. Christ – the most perfectly satisfying and joy-giving gift in the all the world. Christ, who was given from our heavenly father to me, and to you.
And yet, what does my heart so often crave at this time of year?
More gadgets, more money, more jewellery, more DVDs, more spa days, more chocolate…
More. More. More.
What message does social media, the TV, the shops, the world constantly bombard me with?
The message that I am not truly satisfied and what will satisfy me is more stuff.
And what about our children? What’s the world telling them?
That they will not be satisfied until they get more stuff.
More barbies. More Thomas’ trains. More teddy bears. More hi-tech gear. More chocolate.
More. More. More.
We have an insatiable appetite for more stuff. We are greedy for more stuff. We feel entitled to more stuff.
Not simply because we live in a culture which is consumed with consumerism – but because what we are craving behind that desire is something deeper.
We want happiness. We want satisfaction. We want fulfilment, joy, comfort and security. And they are good things.
But they are not found in stuff.
Stuff is often good and can bring temporary enjoyment. In fact stuff can be a beautiful part of the creation God has made, if it’s enjoyed in the right way. But those deeper longings that we all have can never be met by stuff. These deeper longings can only be met by the God-man who was born in poverty, who became a child refugee, who died the death of a criminal and was buried in a borrowed grave.
Jesus is the only one who can give us our heart’s greatest desires.
And so, this week we want to do a series of posts: 5 ways that you can encourage generosity in the hearts of your children.
Why do this? Not simply because Jesus’ self-sacrifice should inspire generosity, although it should.
We should do this because as we give generously, the cords of greed which grip our hearts are loosened. These cords which whisper “life, joy, freedom” are loosened and we experience true life, true joy and true freedom as we practically choose to trust the words of Jesus rather than our own selfish desires. We actively trust that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) and in doing so we experientially know and feel it to be true.
Because you know what? In God’s economy when our bank balance goes down, that isn’t loss. It’s gain. We gain treasures in heaven.
It’s hard to believe isn’t it? It goes against everything our culture says.
And yet it’s true.
So over the next 5 days we’re going to suggest 5 ways that you can encourage your kids’ (and you!) to be generous.
But don’t just teach them that Christians should give away at Christmastime. Teach them that our heavenly Father gave his son for us; that Jesus gave his life up for us; that true life, joy and freedom is found in him; and that as we give sacrificially to others, we mirror our extraordinary God who was pleased to give us “every Spiritual blessing in Christ.”
So here’s today’s suggestion:
#1 Be a generous friend
Let’s encourage our children to be generous friends.
Why don’t you encourage your children to make something for their friends/ classmates? Perhaps home-made cards with a bible verse in it, or home-made fudge, or hand-made bracelets. Something that requires a little bit of an investment of time and thoughtfulness.
Get your child to come up with the idea themselves. Maybe choose a craft that you know they will enjoy doing or spend some time scheming together as you browse Pinterest for ideas.
Your child may get discouraged if the process takes a long time – but use this as a gospel opportunity to tell them how much God loves us and sacrificed for us. And remind them of how loved and special their friends will feel when they receive their gift. After your child has given away the gifts, ask them how their friend’s responded and praise your child for their generosity.
Stay tuned for the rest of the posts.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
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