The Christmas List
“Mommy, I want four things for Christmas.” My three-year-old held up four fingers and touched each one as he counted off the toys. “I want a scooter, a computer, an RC car and a bunny rabbit.” I cringed at the thought that my little son “got” Christmas in the way that advertisers and department stores push us to “get” Christmas.
I’ve been talking to my son about the real reason for Christmas since last year. “Do you know what Christmas means?” I’d ask. “We’re celebrating the birth of Jesus.” He’d agree, but the “list” continued to grow.
It’s difficult to separate Christmas and materialism — particularly in the society in which my son lives. From television ads to massive in-store displays he — along with untold numbers of children — is inundated with the message that Christmas means “I get presents!”
While there’s nothing wrong with giving gifts, the real meaning of Christmas is easily lost on little boys and girls who are surrounded by conflicting messages. It’s important that my son learns exactly why we celebrate Christmas — and it doesn’t have anything to do with how many presents are under the tree.
So, this year we decided to do something a bit different. We’ve “adopted” a little girl in Uganda. We talk about how God has blessed us and we want to help provide for someone who has very little. We read her letters and write back. We let her know God loves her. Just in time for Christmas, we’re learning the value in giving to those who are less fortunate.
That is the message I want to send to my son. Christmas is a time to remember God sending His son in the form of a baby. We celebrate that by loving others and responding as best we can to their needs, letting them know Christ came for them as well.
The list hasn’t gotten any bigger (thankfully!). But I’m still not sure he will get everything on it. Especially the computer! But as his little heart gets excited about what he may get, he will also remember Christmas is a time for bringing joy and Christ’s love to others — especially to those in need.
“In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” — Acts 20:35