That is how long my three children and I spent Christmas shopping and errand running yesterday. I did not noticed how late it was getting because our first stop had been to get the battery in the van changed, and as a result the clock in the van was way off. It wasn’t until we were heading home that I did the math and realized that our “morning outing” had turned into a major shopping marathon.
This was definitely a record for me. And not one that I am eager to try and beat any time soon. The fact that we all made it home without any meltdowns or bad attitudes was a Christmas miracle.
Corralling little children while trying to actually accomplish a task in a store is a no small thing– Can you get everything on your list, stick to a budget, AND make sure no one is eating off the floor or taking off their clothes or dispersing the contents of your purse down the aisle??? Oh, and don’t forget to make sure you leave with the same number of kids you came with?
I’m pretty sure that the fact that moms do this on a regular basis clearly indicates we have superpowers.
Errands with my kids usually just involve grocery shopping, visiting the library, or checking Goodwill for deals. But yesterday was all about Christmas shopping, and we had a great time picking out gifts and planning handmade projects for our family.
Giving gifts to friends and family is one of the best parts of the holiday. Making lists of what would bless those we love and then either buying them or making them together is fun for kids and adults alike. Gift giving is also an opportunity to point our children to God, the most creative, most generous, and most benevolent of us all.
Sure, we do advent activities and catechism questions and read good books together, but I really think that making simple conversations a regular part of our time together is one of the most effective habits we can practice to teach our children about God.
Channel your kids’ enthusiasm to give (and receive!) gifts to discussions about God’s goodness and His delight in giving His children good gifts.
To help you get started, here are three verses we often use to teach our children about the generous and supreme giving nature of God.
1. James 1:17
Our kids hear this one all the time, because it’s something we genuinely rejoice in as their parents and children of God. When we see a beautiful sky, ablaze with the rich colors of the setting sun, we remind them that this beauty is a gift from God. When we are thankful for finding a treasure we thought we had lost, we thank God. We recognize all gifts, small or large, as ultimately coming from God.
Christmastime is a perfect opportunity to teach our children gratitude towards the earthly giver of their presents, but also to teach them gratitude towards God who is the ultimate giver of all good things.
2. Matthew 7:9-11
Help your children grow a BIG view of God’s goodness and love. Our delight in giving each other gifts is just a shadow of the great delight God has in giving His children gifts. The picture in these verses of a parent who would not give his child a stone when asked for a piece of bread, or a snake when asked for a fish, is an illustration of our relationship with God.
“HOW MUCH MORE will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
When your children are excited about picking out a present for a friend or loved one, help them use their excitement as a starting point for understanding God’s love for them. Teach them to remember their joy in giving gifts when they are hesitant to ask God for things in prayer.
3. Romans 8:32
As we use this season to teach our children about the gospel of free grace and the provision of a Messiah, we also use these truths to teach them about God’s extravagant goodness and love. God has given us the greatest of all in giving us His Son, every other need of ours He is both willing and able to care for.
In the car, at the table, laying in bed before nap time– whatever you are doing and wherever you are– talk to your kids. There’s no pressure here to sit down quietly with folded hands and Bibles open. No need to print out corresponding activities or set aside a regular time to do this everyday.
Keep the conversation casual and easy. Make talking about God a normal part of your interactions. In doing so, you will be showing your children that God is in all that we do and that He cares just as much about the mundane parts of our lives as He does the big stuff.
If I don’t have another chance to tell you before next week, MERRY CHRISTMAS FRIENDS!
How do you use this season to teach your kids about God?
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