(Written in 2013)
I learn so much from my kids. They are really God’s biggest blessings to me.
Anna wanted to go Christmas shopping – for me – today! (Yay – I like gifts, I admit it!) And the kids decided to exchange names with each other so they could get a little something for each other without going broke. They just love to give gifts! So I headed out the door with Anna, Andrew, and RJ this morning to go looking. We were planning to go to the dollar store, Walmart, and Big Lots. My thought was that they would find a few little things at the dollar store and then we could head home and forget the other stores. They each found some fun stuff at the dollar store – but then wanted to go to Walmart to head to the lego department. Apparently, they decided that the best idea was to forgo the little pieces of things that break and to get something that the person really wanted. I hesitated. See, my kids don’t really get an allowance. And the younger two don’t have jobs to make extra money outside of our home like John and Anna do. They rely on getting money as gifts for the most part. They had some money from my grandmother as an early Christmas gift and some money that they had found in their treasure hunt over Thanksgiving. And they wanted to buy an exciting gift.
So we went to Walmart and headed directly to the toy aisle. They zeroed in on the legos, and each found something that made them very excited. Anna had RJ’s name, and immediately picked out the perfect lego set for him. RJ decided that the nail polish he bought Anna at the dollar store was not the only thing he wanted to give her, because she would “love the dinosaur in this lego set, Mom!” And Andrew, who thinks John is about the coolest big brother ever, couldn’t wait to pick out the hobbit set for him. (I hope my kids don’t read my blog…)
Here’s my dilemma. I was looking at the money that they each had in the envelopes and thinking, “They want to spend all their Christmas money on each other? Then they won’t have anything left for themselves.” I pointed this out – more than once. Mostly I didn’t want meltdowns or buyers remorse later. But each of them was so excited to give “the perfect gift” to their sibling. They can hardly wait until Christmas because of it! And I must admit – they really are the perfect gifts. They put a lot of thought into it, and gave generously.
I am constantly going back and forth at this time of year. To give or not to give. To spend or not to spend. I think people go crazy, and I do not agree with going in debt and giving in excess for the sake of keeping up with others. I don’t believe the craze of more, more, more and living in stress because of it is pleasing to Jesus, nor a wise use of what he gives us. But I LOVE giving my kids gifts and watching their faces light up when it is the thing they have been wanting. And I think that’s ok. God loves to give us good gifts. He delights in us and in giving us those good things. I understand that feeling from watching my kids.
And now after watching them sacrifice and give to each other – generously and excitedly – I saw another side thing that makes Him happy. He loves for his children to be generous. That’s why he gives us so much – to glorify him. My kids weren’t worried about not having any extra money left. They have a pretty good understanding of giving, saving, and spending – we have been teaching them that for years. And they are so good at each part of those! They all know that we will get them gifts and that their needs (and even some of their wants) are taken care of because we love them. In that security they can give and love others.
Thank you, Jesus, for always loving me and giving me so many things. Thank you, especially, for my children and their hearts for you and others.