“What did you get me?”
Every parent has heard it. I don't care how much you teach gratefulness. It happens. It's even human. Our kids just don't always have the filter to hold back their excitement at the prospect of gifts. They also don't always understand that it is our intense love for them that prompts the gift giving.
All they know for sure is that it makes them feel special.
And, I have no problem with my kids enjoying gifts. I love watching their excitement, but I do want to convey the reasons behind gifts. And, especially at Christmas I want my kids to understand why we celebrate and give gifts. So, I had a thought that is prompting the beginning of a new tradition for our family this Christmas.
What if Jesus gave our kids gifts on Christmas morning instead of Santa Claus?
Christ Centered Traditions:
In the past, our family has baked a cake for Jesus to celebrate his birthday. We also read special bible selections about his birth each year and we do an advent calendar. I love all those ideas because it takes the focus off that guy in the red suit and puts it back where it belongs. But, this year I also wanted to try something different. Something that went deeper. I wanted an activity that was smack dab in the middle of our gift opening on the morning of December 25th. Something that would not be on the outskirts of our celebration, but intertwined with the specialness of Christmas morning and the opening of their gifts.
So, this year we decided that Jesus would physically give our children gifts. But, these gifts would have a double meaning and be a representation of something much more meaningful. A gift from Jesus. A reminder in that moment and for days and weeks to come, of the things Jesus gave to them individually and to the world by entering history.
Jesus' gifts to the world can be an abstract idea for children and gifts are a very concrete reminder that someone is thinking of them, that they are special to the gift giver.
In my mind, it's like teaching math concepts. I don't just throw worksheets at my kids and expect them to master division. We have to do concrete examples. They have to see it represented in a way they can grasp and understand.
And, My kids love to unwrap presents. Whose don't?
I made up a printable list of each gift of Jesus with a bible verse reference to go with it. Click here to get your free copy.
10 Gifts of Jesus with Bible References:
And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end.
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ, so that sin might lose it's power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our lord.
For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
1 Timothy 2:5-6
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
And since it is through God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
Print out each word and verse strip, cut them apart and place them in the box with the corresponding gift. Wrap it up, and then watch the magic happen on their faces Christmas morning.
What did Jesus get me for Christmas?
The gift idea is simple. I will wrap gifts for my children that will be a physical reminder of the gifts Jesus gave to them and the world. The act of opening a wrapped gift from Jesus addressed directly to them will be a concrete way to show the miracle of what his birth means in their lives.
I bought small boxes of different sizes and a few rolls of wrapping paper. Each box will contain a gift representing one of the gifts of Jesus that we chose to highlight with our kiddos. Then my husband and I will wrap them up and the from portion of the tag will say Jesus.
Here's our idea list of the physical gifts that could represent Jesus' gifts:
Hope- A seedling planted in a small pot or a packet of seeds for them to plant themselves.
Peace- A calming gift like play-dough, silly putty, or some other sensory thing.
Freedom- Something specific to my children's personalities and interests. For instance, my daughter loves to sing and my son is loves the outdoors, camping etc. Something that shows them they are free to be who God made them to be.
Eternal Life- A clock for their bedside table or a new watch to represent that because of Jesus they will live with him forever in eternity.
Restoration- A night light or small flashlight.
Mercy- Candy or treats
Grace- A toy they've been asking for.
Love- A handmade gift.
Forgiveness- A book, bible, or devotional.
Salvation- A small string of lights or glow in the dark stars for their room.
I pray that whatever traditions you start or continue this year that they bring your family closer to each other and to Jesus this year.
I'm Heidi, a perfectly imperfect woman, wife, and homeschooling mama who relies on the grace of Jesus' and big cups of coffee. We are a full time Rving and roadschooling family that travels across the United States stopping at as many National Parks as we can and loving every minute of it!
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