Joy Comes From Giving

“Mom, I know the truth about Christmas.”

“Ummm, what do you mean?”

“I know you and Dad are Santa.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No, Christmas is about Jesus. Santa has always been just for fun. I want to help be Santa this year, though.”

This was a conversation last year with my then eight-year-old daughter. Who let the cat out of the bag? No one at school. She recognized my handwriting. Our Santa is not very smart over here.

And so, she helped me pick out and wrap all the presents for her younger brother. We had a blast! On Christmas Eve, after he was all cuddled in bed, we put out the presents and she enjoyed the milk and cookies!

A couple days after Christmas, she said, “That was the best Christmas ever. I was more excited to see him open his gifts than to get mine. I loved seeing his reaction.”

A life lesson … joy comes from giving.

We have our fun with Santa and even this crazy Elf we’ve adopted (for the sake of staying focused on the real meaning of Christmas, though, I’m not going to address the debate about this controversial Elf other than to say — let’s agree not to judge each other). But seriously, NONE of it matters.

We wouldn’t even celebrate CHRISTmas without the little baby, given to the world by an innocent virgin, a young first-time mom. Jesus was the most perfect example of giving. He was born. He served. He healed. He gave His life for you. For me.

Focus on Him. On Christmas Day, we read Luke 2:1-20 and “The Tale of Three Trees” (this is a precious story about Jesus’ cross). We also make a special birthday cake, add candles & sing to Jesus!

Model His giving. This year, we’ve added some new traditions. We:

  • Surprised our kids on Thanksgiving with a gift. There was cash inside. We explained that it was their “Bless Others” money. My son donated to Toys for Tots and Jaxon’s FROG Foundation (our friends started this foundation after their five-year-old passed away from brain cancer last year, www.jaxonsfrogfoundation.com). My daughter has decided to send a care package to a little girl who is going through chemotherapy; and
  • Filled Ziploc bags with bottled water and non-perishable food, then loaded them in our car. When we see homeless people, we’re ready to give. The first time my six-year-old son gave away a bag, that sweet homeless man looked deep into my son’s eyes and said, “God bless you, little boy.” And when we drove away, my son said, “That felt awesome. I feel tingly inside.”

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” 2 Corinthians 9:7

I would love to hear your traditions. How do you teach your kids about giving to others?

4 thoughts on “Joy Comes From Giving

  1. Mandy, this was beautiful. Made me tear up. I am so blessed to have a daughter in law to teach my grandchildren the truth of blessing others. Love you!!!!

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  2. My mom would take us to deliver meals to seniors on Thanksgiving Day. I’ll never forget when we delivered a meal to a lady that I recognized who worked at my elementary school. That day I realized that people in need are real people. They aren’t just people that you see on tv commercials or along the side of the road. My mom taught me to be compassionate to all people & to give to those in need – even if you don’t have a lot to give in the first place.

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