Amidst the flurry of Christmas activities this year, my youngest asked me out of the blue, "now why do we give each other gifts at Christmas?", "it's not our birthday, it's Jesus' birthday, right?". I thought to myself, this is another one of those trick questions kids ask grownups. Not wanting to flunk the grownup test and unsure of how to answer him, I ponder the idea of Christmas with no presents! Yikes! That would be awful. I think to myself, what was that story about St. Nicholas and how does that play into all of this gift giving ritual? Now, I'm feeling like the most uneducated mom, and make a mental note to research the St. Nick thing soon (surely there's a "Christmas Histories for dummies" book at the Christian book store that will tell me everything I need to know). Finally, I explained to him that we give gifts to the people we love, like the Wise Men(Maji) brought gifts to Jesus, to celebrate Christ's birth. He was happy with that answer and ran off do to what ever 9 year olds do, and I was happy that I had saved the Christmas gift giving tradition in our family. Whew, close call.
This incident prompted me to remind the kids that all this stuff we give and get is just stuff to use and enjoy, but that our real treasures are in heaven.
But store up for yourselves, treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20
I have to admit, the shopping and the wrapping and the giving and the getting can be a distraction to my kids if I don't continually point them to Christ and remind them that... his birth is the reason we have joy and his death is the reason we have life.