Previously: On holidays: Is Hanukkah a holy day?
A new Barna research survey reports that many Christian parents give in to pressure from society and their children, and purchase media for Christmas gifts – DVDs, music CDs, video games, and magazines – with content they feel convicted over. Take a stand this Christmas! Go non- commercial! Refuse to spend money at retailers this Friday! If Christians are going to celebrate a recycled pagan holiday on December 25th, then at least make it about what we can give to others. Research overseas missions to find the ones making the most impact for the Gospel, and give them your Christmas gift- money. Drill a Jesus well for a village without water in India. Sponsor a child. Buy an hour (or a day) of Christian programming to reach the satellite dishes prominent in every Muslim land closed to the Gospel. Give toward Bible translation. Help pay for the radical heart surgeries needed by impoverished Muslim children in Israeli hospitals. Give to widows and orphans in your local community. Support a crisis pregnancy center. Ask the Lord to lead you to the areas of greatest need. He will! Each child can choose which ministry they would like their Christmas gift- money donated to, and why.
And then, if the giving spirit, which is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit (instead of the getting spirit, which is the spirit of covetousness) infects the family, and you want to still give the family members something, stipulate that it must be a gift given without recourse to money or stores. Refinish a cherished heirloom piece of furniture. Have a work day at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Sew a quilt. Paint a picture. Paint someone’s room their favorite color. Write and illustrate a story, telling all the ways Uncle ___ has been a blessing this year. Fix something broken. Wash someone’s baseboards or windows. Organize someone’s garage or basement. Practice a beautiful piece of music to perfection, and play it. Cook meals for a busy someone’s freezer. Bake. Make a family favorite recipe cookbook. Organize someone’s pictures in an album. Decorate a keepsake box, and fill it with notes of edification, encouragement, and appreciation collected from the extended family. If someone is struggling with loneliness, find all the Scriptures that tell us that God is our friend who will never leave us, and write them out beautifully in a little book. Take the younger cousins, who adore and look up to your kids, for a play day. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.