A few nights ago we had some friends over for dinner and they asked my son a question in which his answer made me smile. The question was, “What is your family tradition? Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?” His answer was a quiet, simple (but profound), “Actually, this year we are giving away Christmas.” It was a memorable moment for me because his answer gave evidence that he’s getting an important value in life at Christmas that Tanya and I are being very intentional to try and pass on to our children.
As a family we’ve been having an internal discussion for weeks now (in continuation from last Christmas’ discussions) on how we should try to focus on others at Christmas, versus a “me attitude” of what presents under the tree have my name on it. Clearly, we’re not the perfect family (even if our last name is Best) and we will have one family gift that’s not exactly inexpensive under our tree, but overall, we are trying to figure out real tangible ways to “give away Christmas” with focus on others.
It’s not that it all started last year for our family with such a topic since we downplayed Santa Claus with our kids from birth and “up played” Jesus as the real gift at Christmas. However, last year we were challenged by another who went out of her way to do something for other families in our community who may not have a lot of means to really celebrate Christmas as a family, even in such a wealthy nation as Switzerland. I hesitate to share details of some of the ways our family is “giving away Christmas” this year, but at the same time, I hope and pray you may be challenged as well to look outward away from the presents with your name on them under your tree and think of others during Christmas.
First, it’s simply been an open conversation with our kids and seeking their input in practical ways we can “give away Christmas”. One way is that we will buy food baskets and take to our village’s social service office for them to give to families in need. We found out last year that there are a few (very local) families that are in need and they can anonymously take these baskets too. A catch in this is that we (each of us in the family) are finding ways together to set aside funds (giving up something) so we can purchase these gifts for others. There are a lot of creative ways to do this and we’re putting the saved money in a “Giving Away Christmas” box. There are a few other things involved in this family savings box, but you get the idea.
Another thing we did this year in particular was to sponsor a COMPASSION CHILD. This first month’s sponsorship is again a family thing that our kids have been involved with in setting aside support for it. Years ago we sponsored a child from Brazil while we still lived in the USA, and we are honored and excited to share in another’s life, this time in Togo. By the way, Ken N at LIFT is a Compassion “Advocate” who can provide you with more information on how you too can “sponsor” a Compassion Child somewhere in the world. Personally, I strongly endorse and have seen first hand the integrity of how Compassion International operates in a wonderful way of ensuring the sponsor’s finances truly makes it to those involved in a transparent and effective manner.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO SHARE ON WAY’S TO GIVE CHRISTMAS AWAY:
The world around us has made CHRISTmas into a spending frenzy and commercial business called X-Mas and I’m not one who desires for my kids to only know that kind of a world and the world of the fat guy in a red suit or only the Swiss version of Samichlaus and his cohorts “Schmutzli” from the “Waldhuus” (cabin in the woods). Jesus IS the reason for the season and CHRISTmas is called CHRISTMAS for a reason.
Again, my family isn’t “the model” family and we’re imperfect in many ways but I hope to challenge others to also be intentional to “GIVE AWAY CHRISTMAS”, just as God gave His Son as the original CHRISTmas gift to the world…..knowing Jesus would live His life to die for us, and GIVE us life through His death and resurrection!
I have a favor to ask of you and a challenge all at the same time. Since our family is still trying to seek practical ways to “GIVE AWAY CHRISTMAS” (this year and future years). If you, as a family, couple or single have found your own way of “giving away Christmas”, please click reply and share it with me? Preferably by next Wednesday. I intend to keep the names confidential, but would like to share various ideas that others out there may have found in giving away Christmas on next week’s LIFT update.
In His grip and grace…..because He first gave me the real gift of Christmas!
PS- A great friend of ours sent this link about couple days ago about “Giving This Christmas Away”- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2ulYpoNXC0