5 Things Kids {Can} Like More than Getting

December 8, 2011

in Everyday Traditions,Mothering

Six years ago, we didn’t see ourselves as the parents of four little ones and we certainly didn’t see how we’d do this little thing called parenting. We suddenly find ourselves happening upon holidays and traditions like Christmas and wonder what exactly is happening.

We’ve never made a big deal about getting presents at Christmas. This year is the first time the kids have actually asked who that man with the white beard is. And it’s also the first year where they seem to be most excited about getting ‘stuff.’

So, this is the year I’m asking for grace to remember that while there’s room under the tree and holes to fill in the stockings, kids {and all of us} were made to long for so much more. But, the better longing is one that must be learned.

If you’re longing for your kids to learn this longing too, here are 5 things kids can learn to love more than getting more stuff.

1Getting Outside.  I’ve seen my kids enjoy new toys, seen their eyes light up when a package appears.  But, I’ve honestly never observed them quite as happy as they are when they find worms, dig in dirt, splash in puddles, wade across a stream, or climb a tall hill.  There is no gift that can rival God’s gift of nature.

2Getting an Adventure.  Each time I get the kids something new, I imagine them sitting and playing quietly, well behaved, at the table for hours.  But, before long, the new toy has been tied up, covered with stickers, gone ‘flying’ off the bed, or buried in the sandbox.  These people may be little but their imaginations are big and one of the best gifts they can receive is a parent who lets them follow their imaginings into whatever adventure they choose.

3Getting Creative.  Kids were made in the image of the great Creator.  And while I’d prefer toys that stack and organize easily, my kids would really prefer toys they can make themselves.  They were made to build and cut and glue and paint. The worst messes, the best creations, and the biggest smiles are right there waiting for you to say, ‘go ahead.’

4Getting More of YOU. No matter the number of toys and games and distractions available, nothing seems to distract kids (for too long) from their desire to get your attention.  My kids know that their grandparents are the ones who give the best gifts.  And yet, when I ask what they love most about them, their gift giving isn’t on the list—it’s their hugs, their laughter, their wrestling, their attention.  The real gift kids long for, even if they don’t know it, is YOU-time with you, attention from you.  The gift of your presence is the real present.

5Getting More of CHRIST.  I must admit I’ve never heard any child (honestly) say they only wanted more of Christ for Christmas. Nevertheless, it’s me that most needs to remember that this really is true as I consider the way we’ll deal with gifts and getting during holidays like Christmas. While presents wrapped up in bows and stockings full of goodies are so fun to open, I want to remember that the gift my kids were created to love most is the gift of Christ.  And so, I’m praying for grace to wrap up more gifts this year that unwrap more of Christ in our lives.

I’m no Grinch and though Santa won’t come down our chimney, I’ve no desire to take all the presents away this year.  But I am praying for grace to raise children less like those in Nashville and more like those in Whoville, children who sing whether there are presents or not, children who’ve learned to love so much more than simply getting.

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  8Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”Ephesians 4:7-8

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