Oh, the holidays. Where to begin…and how to end?!
I’ve been struggling the past week or so about this holiday season.
My two older boys are at the “I want, I want” age and I’ve been trying to teach them about gratitude and giving, but once again – I’m reminding myself here – they are at that age. I sometimes forget that we are all born selfish and it takes years (more than 6) to understand how to be grateful and to have a giving heart. Especially when our culture urges us to have more…and more will make us happy.
I STILL struggle with this – trendy clothes, updated technology, new is better!
So I’m working on celebrating the small victories and remembering that all I can do is teach, especially through my actions, and know that God will work on their hearts…aka giving grace.
One small victory recently was filling a box of gently used toys to donate for children that have less than us. I will acknowledge that in their minds giving toys away is just making room for new toys, BUT they also gave willingly. And in my eyes I am teaching them how to give and why; will it take some time for them to truly understand these things? YES! But isn’t that the way with habits? Time and consistency are the best teachers.
Another aspect of the season I’ve been struggling with is WHY we’re celebrating. I recently read someone’s post about how Christmas isn’t even Jesus’ real birth date and that for all of the feasts and festivals that God created in the Bible, He never said to celebrate Jesus’ birth or when and THAT date – Christmas – was created just so Christians could celebrate winter solstice – a pagan holiday.
This really bothered me and really made me second guess….well, everything!
But oh, how God works in mysterious and wondrous ways.
I started a study through Proverbs 31 Ministries on the book by Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem. And it occurred to me, God KNEW how this would all turn out; He KNEW that new Christians would use the pagan winter solstice to celebrate Jesus’ birth and He could have stepped in right? We all know that God can change things, but He gave us free will and you know what He does with that free will? He uses it for HIS GOOD!
“Because of Bethlehem” we HAVE our Savior…and, yes, as Christians we should celebrate Jesus’ birth every day, but God KNEW how selfish we would be and that we would NEED this “reason” and “season” to celebrate. I would not want to guess how many people have come to know Him because of the Christmas season!
I do want my boys to grow up being grateful for all they have and being grateful for when they receive gifts; I want them to be good givers, too. I pray they can be good servers in their schools and communities. I, also, pray that they won’t feel the need to be guilty of getting new things or for celebrating their Savior’s birth on one significant day; that they may know grace* when they fail to celebrate Him every day.
So, I will be joyfully celebrating this season. I will work, through my words and actions, to teach my kids about why we are celebrating. Most importantly, I will give grace. I have been given it, so why would I not extend it to those around me, especially those I love? Grace to three little boys who don’t quite understand gratitude or giving with a grateful heart; grace to their little hearts that follow their selfish minds because they don’t quite understand how to use God’s strength to overcome that selfishness. Grace for myself when I lose my “cool” too many times and when I let myself get overwhelmed by the whys instead of remembering the Giver of grace created this season so I can remember all He can/will do for my good.
^ 2 Peter 1:2 ^
*I love this message on grace from Proverbs 31 Ministries daily devotional today (Nov. 27)