This is my last Christmas as a non-parent. With Kylie (the wife) sitting pretty at 7 months pregnant, this Christmas is feeling very much like an "in-between" worlds scenario. What used to be a time we enjoyed for the alone time, just the two of us, is now quickly being invaded and taken over by the not-yet-born baby.
This is not a bad thing.
Christmas is a time that, hopefully, gives us a chance to pause. It provides an opportunity to stop and consider who we are and who we are becoming.
I am becoming a parent.
A father who's job title suggests that I mirror and point to THE Father.
I am the father of my soon-to-be child, I am not THE Father of my soon-to-be child.
My genetics are there, but the one creator is the one who pieced Kylie's genes and my own together to create something new and fantastic.
I am the small one, the less significant of the two, and as such I need to teach this soon-to-be child about THE Father.
Moms and dads reading this: realize that we have our children as stewards from God, and his task for us is to fill them with his truth. I humbly suggest 3 lessons to teach our children during this season of Christmas:
1. Teach your child the value of giving.
Christmas is not about presents received, but blessings given. God blessed us by giving a blessing, not a present. He sent us Son, God-wrapped-in-flesh, to bring justice, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. He sent not what was wanted by the people of old; he did not send the Roman-crushing, army leading Messiah of many's imagination. He sent what was needed--a helpless God-child.
Perhaps we teach the value of giving blessing by helping someone in real need. Not only giving within the family the gifts of want, but by giving outside our box--to someone whose need is real.
2. Teach your child the cost of giving.
Giving costs. Jesus birth cost him, and God, greatly. Jesus emptied himself, he wrapped himself in mortality. Immortal within mortality. It cost Mary--her reputation may have been ruined, her future was changed, her body was altered painfully. It cost Joseph--it cost him the bride he thought he would have, replaced by the same woman but totally different. It cost him his future, his reputation. Imagine how both sets of parents looked at the two...it cost something real.
Giving, real giving, costs us much more than money. Don't let your kids use your money to go buy you a present this year. Either make them work to earn money for your gift, or ask them to put in the work to make something homemade and special. Teach them the cost of giving.
3. Teach your child the joy of giving.
Mary's worship is recorded for all-time. Her willingness to give her body to service of the Lord led her to great joy. Giving leads to joy. Allow your kids to give in ways that are fun, teach them to enjoy giving real gifts.
As I reflect on the change in my life, I prepare to make the most of Christmas's to come. I want to teach my kid real giving.
How have you taught these lessons to your children through the years? Have you ever done something fun, crazy, or outside-the-box to teach your kids the meaning of giving? What other lessons do you teach your children?