I love Thanksgiving and wish I could enjoy it, but the merchandisers want us thinking about Christmas.
The truth is, if we lived out Thanksgiving daily, we’d all be a lot happier. Grateful people are happy people. Greedy people are not.
But for some reason, even though we all say that we hate the merchandising of Christmas, we give way to it. The message of Jesus’ birth was lost a long time ago and now the greed that took over Christmas has invaded Thanksgiving too. Black Friday is now Black Thanksgiving.
But I want to challenge you to be different. Make this Christmas one of your most special ever, and enjoy it like the rest of the world cannot. We can expect the world to keep doing what they’re dong, but as followers of Jesus, we can be different. And we ought to be.
I heard a great suggestion from a mom on the radio. She advised parents to ask their children for a list of only three items:
- Something that will bring you closer to Jesus (devotional book, Bible)
- Something that you will wear (clothing, jewelry, perfume).
- Something that you want.
That’s it…just three items.
She also encouraged parents to ask the grandparents to limit their gifts the same way…that by doing so, we can give back to our children a special kind of Christmas that has long been lost. And I think she’s right.
I can tell you this, the Ziegler kids remember our best Christmases as the ones we gave away (one year a mission trip instead of gifts, other years family projects we did for those in need).
How would that ease the pressure you feel this time of year, to fill out those gift lists and the financial weight that comes along with it? That emotional change alone might be just the perfect gift that your kids need all the more––a mom or dad with a lot less holiday stress.
While there is instant gratification in gift-giving for parents and gift-receiving for kids, the long-term affects are not positive and the end result is this greed-based Christmas that has become an out-of-control merchandising frenzy. You’re not going to change Woodfield Mall or Target, but you can change your family and what they value most this time of year.
Talk about it now as a family and decide what you are going to do. But please, whatever you do, don’t let Thanksgiving morph into greed. Honor Jesus as the extraordinary gift that he is, and make him your focus.