You’ve probably seen the headlines this month:
- “Christmas at Risk as Supply Chain ‘Disaster’ Only Gets Worse”
- “Supply Chain Shortages Threaten Massive Christmas Disappointments”
- “Christmas trees, sweaters, gifts in shipping mess: How supply chain issues will affect holiday shopping”
- “Supply chain expert: Get your Christmas shopping done early to avoid shipping delays”
What’s a parent or grandparent to do?
[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]
The Best Gifts for Christmas
Many parents are running out to stores now or jumping online to order gifts for Christmas that’s two months away. However, I wonder if the best Christmas gifts we can give our children aren’t much closer than a store or a website.
I can think of three gifts you can give your children this Christmas that they will treasure for the rest of their lives. Every parent, no matter income or access to stores, can give these gifts.
Gift #1: Love
Children love to be loved. Who doesn’t! Parents can express their love for a child through special gifts at Christmas, but the deep love of a parent for a child cannot be replaced by material gifts. Children want to know that their parents love and value them.
The best way to love your children is to know that your Father in Heaven loves you. It’s difficult to give something you don’t have.
One of the best-known verses in the Bible is about love. No wonder it’s such a favorite.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
God loved the world so much that He gave His greatest gift: His “only begotten Son,” His “one and only Son” (NIV). Think about that. God the Father loves God the Son so much that He sent His Son into the world to die for sin so that sinners “shall not perish but have eternal life.” God the Son loves God the Father so much that He did the will of His Father and came to earth to die for sin so that sinners “should not perish but have everlasting life.” That is an incredible love and it’s the love our Father has for us.
What does it mean to love your children? It means loving them as soon as you know they are growing inside the womb. It means loving them as they are born. It means loving them when you take them home from the hospital. It means loving them as they grow up. It means loving them when they obey you and when they disobey you. It means loving them through every moment of life. Why? Because that’s what love does.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
This agape love is what God gives us and it’s what He wants us to give our children. Our children will love us back and thank us for the rest of our lives that we chose to give them the greatest of all gifts – the gift of love.
Gift #2: Encouragement
Children love to be encouraged. They thrive in an environment filled with encouragement from family and friends. However, it’s difficult to encourage others when you don’t feel encouraged yourself.
The best way to encourage your children is to experience the encouragement of your Father in Heaven. What is that encouragement? Interestingly enough, it comes from God’s love for us.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (NIV)
As far as we know, the Apostle Paul wasn’t married and didn’t have children. However, he thought a lot about how to encourage his “children” in the faith. There were literally thousands of people who had become Christians through Paul’s ministry. He knew how important it is to encourage people and often connected encouragement to love.
For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:1-3
Giving the gift of encouragement to your children for Christmas begins with loving your children. Love leads to encouragement which leads to the third gift for Christmas.
Gift #3: Forgiveness
Children need their parents’ forgiveness. Kids mess up and know it. What do they need when they have to face their mess? They need love and forgiveness. A parent who loves their child will discipline their child with a loving heart (Hebrews 12:11) and part of that loving discipline will include forgiveness.
The same goes for parents. Adults mess up and know they messed up. What’s the cure for that? Forgiveness. It’s difficult to forgive others if you have not been forgiven. Those who are forgiven the most should be able to forgive the most (Luke 7:47).
We offended God deeply by sinning against Him. How did He respond? He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins so He could forgive our sins.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Ephesians 1:7-8
The best way to forgive your children is to know that your Father in Heaven has forgiven you. We forgive much because we’ve been forgiven much.
Wrap It Up
No matter what material Christmas gifts you actually give your children this Christmas, be sure to wrap every one with love, encouragement and forgiveness. Many children won’t remember what material presents their parents gave them a year or two after Christmas, but they will remember if their parents loved them, encouraged them and forgave them. In fact, children will remember whether they were loved, encouraged and forgiven all of their lives.
I highly recommend you wrap every Christmas present this year with a life-long determination to love your children. It’s the best gift you can give them. If you love your children with all your heart, encouragement and forgiveness will flow continually from that enduring love.
May your supply chain this Christmas come from God who will supply everything you need to give your children exactly what they need.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 89) – GraceLife Blog
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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