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What Will You Teach Your Kids This Advent Season?

 

What Will You Teach Your Kids This Advent Season?

 

 

The Bible class at the senior living center had ended, and we were talking about raising kids.  An elderly woman said, “I think we made a mistake by wanting to give our kids more than what we had.  In trying to give them a better life, we taught them to be self-indulgent and materialistic.”

Does she have a point?  Maybe a point we need to consider just days before we map out our Black Friday shopping strategy so we can blow our kids away on Christmas morning with all the awesome stuff their little hearts have craved?

Don’t get me wrong.  God loves us and his great joy was to give us the gift of his Son to be our Savior.  Our joy is to give our kids gifts too- especially as that giving reminds us of God giving his Son to us.  Decorating, feasting, and family fun are all part of our happy celebration of Christ’s birth.  But there is always the temptation for our celebrating to take an ugly turn to self-indulgence and materialism as long as we have sinful hearts and live in a culture that focuses on that.  Amid all the voices (in us, in our kids, in every advertisement) that tell us the holidays (and life itself!) will be great if we just do this and get that, we hear the voice of God saying, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)

We have a reason to be content, no matter what we have or don’t have, because of the great truth of Christmas, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)  When all the earthly stuff we crave gets worn out, used up, or no longer pleases us, Jesus continues to provide us with the priceless and timeless gifts of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation and resulting comfort, joy, peace, and strength.  The contentment of having Christ, and the fulfillment of a godly life- where our joy is not in self-indulgence but in serving others- is what gives life meaning.

How can you teach your kids that during the holidays?

1) Take them to church during Advent as we are reminded to wait for Christ to bring us to glory with humble trust and repentant living. Use the daily Advent family devotion resources provided by your church to keep their focus on Christ as their source of true contentment.  Work with them on their recitations and songs for the Children’s Christmas service with sincere joy in the birth of our Savior.

2) Serve others.  Determine, as a family, to visit a lonely shut in, to take part in the Grand Ledge Christmas parade where we reach out to the community, to provide Christmas gifts for needy families or ongoing support for an impoverished child, or to identify and help someone hurting or struggling in your neighborhood, school, or family.

3) Take the advice of a wise Christian mom who told me that her kids never got everything on their Christmas wish list because she didn’t want them to grow up expecting to get everything they want in life, and because she wanted them to remember that true fulfillment is found only in Christ.

May God bless you as you teach your kids that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”  (1 Timothy 6:6)