Christmas season is now under way and excitement is in the air. Homes begin to light up the night with all the beautiful decorations. With tummies still full from turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, the shopping begins. It is gift giving season and the search is on for the perfect gifts for those we love. If you are like me, I enjoy thinking about and planning for the perfect gift for all on my list, especially my children. What would excite them? Surprise them? Wow them? What have they been keeping their eye on that would make their face light up when they unwrap it from under the tree? Oh, it is so fun to give!
Material gifts are fun to think about, shop for and give, but have you given any thought to what eternal gifts you might give your children this Christmas, gifts for the heart? If we only spent as much time investing in eternal gifts as we do shopping for material gifts, our homes would be calmer and more meaningful at Christmas time. Jesus tells us not to store up treasures on earth but in heaven, because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19,20) One eternal gift is spending time with kiddos; baking cookies, retelling the story of Jesus' birth, sharing stories of your childhood Christmas memories, celebrating Advent together and other similar Christmas activities. I think as moms we do tend to make time to give these special “gifts” to our kids at Christmas time, no matter how busy the season. But could there be a gift that will give over and over, day after day this Christmas season that could impact them for eternity?
I'm glad you asked. What about giving the gift to your children of a mom spending daily, intentional time with the Lord Jesus this entire Christmas season? I believe that is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Amidst the hustle and bustle, the hanging of decorations and Christmas lights, the shopping and wrapping...give your kids devoted time of their mom sitting at the feet of Jesus. This December, make it the top priority of each day to make time for Him. It will change your stress level, your shopping, your heart, your own Christmas experience this year, and it will overflow into a gift for your children.
One of my favorite things to do each December day is get up before anyone in the family is awake, go downstairs and in the dark, turn on only the lights of the Christmas tree. While sipping coffee and my Bible in my lap, with just the twinkling of the Christmas lights, I spend time with my Savior. It is such a sweet time. I look forward to it all year long. There is just something about staring at the lights of the tree and pondering the God of the universe who chose to come down from heaven Himself, in human flesh, to show us how much He loves us. Morning after morning, this renews my focus. This intentional and special time with Jesus fixes my eyes on Him, encourages me to lean in to Him, fills me with His Spirit and helps me keep this season about Jesus and not what the world has made it to be. This time with Jesus overflows into the rest of my day and becomes a gift to my family. My heart is full. My focus is clear. My joy is real.
My family gets to experience this gift of me spending time with Jesus because what He has taught me that morning often spills into my conversations with them that day. Taking the time to study the Christmas story from different perspectives teaches us new things and then we want to share. For example, two years ago a friend of mine gave me the Christmas devotional The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. It was a fresh way of reading and studying the lineage of Jesus through the Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree. Walking through Old Testament passages and being reminded of truths each morning from scripture and Ann's devotional made me want to share these Christmas treasures with my kids. Continuing to point our own hearts and our children's hearts to Jesus during the season of Christmas is a gift that truly is eternal. It changes how we live each day. Maybe you want to find a new way to spend time with Jesus in His word this December and allow God to fill your heart, so you can pour into your family the peace and light of Christ. Psalm 119:130 reminds us "The unfolding of Thy words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple."
Time with Jesus is life giving. A mom walking with the Lord daily is a mom filled with the Spirit and being led by the Spirit. A mom spending time with Jesus is ready to give to her family. Why not give this gift to your kids this Christmas season? Oh, they may not be able to physically grab it out from under the tree and unwrap it on Christmas morning, but they will unknowingly experience the eternal gift you are giving them...a mom who has put Jesus at the top of her own Christmas list and gives of herself out of the overflow of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.