The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when he gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son. ~ Robert Flatt
I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas traditions. I grew up in a home filled with faith and fun. Christmas Eve was spent around the fireplace, reading Luke and lighting candles and singing Joy to the World and Silent Night. It was sweet and sacred.
Christmas morning meant stockings full of candy and nuts and the oddest trinkets my Mom could find in those funny little catalogs. After breakfast, we opened our gifts. Most were homemade: wooden games, odd lamps and candle holders made by Dad; new clothes sewn by Mom. There were also a few store items, that special game or toy particularly hoped for that year.
I carried my childhood traditions into my own family, enlarging them. The stockings got bigger and bigger and more expensive to fill. The gifts under the tree took hours to unwrap.
I thought I was setting an example of giving, but I was really setting an example of getting. In spite of me, my daughter and son have grown up to be kind, generous and thoughtful adults.
I’ve changed. I’ve learned a great deal about generosity and hope these past few years. If this were a Dickens memory, the Ghost of Christmas Past would be one of regret. But it isn’t. I have wonderful memories and I have things I would do differently. If I were raising my children now, I would have stockings that were silly and fun and a gift or two that I knew they would enjoy.
The rest of their present would be to give them the money I would have spent on their gifts, for them to use to give to others. Maybe they would have had the joy of anonymously paying off someone’s utility bill or Christmas layaway toys or dropping bills instead of coins, into the red bucket, sharing in God’s joyful spending spree!