Keeping Christ in Christmas--Gift Giving

Several people have asked about Christmas gift-giving traditions in our family. I probably should have posted this last year; but it was a hectic time, and I am a great procrastinator. Since we are ONE MONTH away from Christmas, I thought this would be a good time to share.

We started this tradition so many years ago, I do not remember where the idea originated. I am sure it was not with me. Most of my ideas are found online and tweaked to suit our family's needs. This idea is no different.

Like all families that we know, we give our children gifts for Christmas. In an effort to keep the focus on Jesus, we give three gifts to each child. We use the examples of gold, frankinsence and myrrh that were given to our Lord.

Gold is a gift fit for a king, so this is the gift that is the greatest want of the children. It is not a need. It is a splurge item.

Frankincense was used in prayer in the temple and represents Christ's priesthood. The frankincense gift in our home represents the child's spiritual growth. This has been anything from a Christian movie or documentary, a Bible study or devotional book or other Bible study helps. It could also be tickets to a Christian concert or movie.

Myrrh were spices used in preparing Jesus's body for burial. Myrrh represents His physical life, so the myrrh gift at our house is something to nourish the physical body. This could be clothing, outdoor toys (bicycle, etc), exercise equipment, perfume, etc.

Giving this way does require a bit of thinking and planning on my part, but the gifts are so much more meaningful this way. And gift-giving is just simpler. It also helps to ease the "gimmes" that most kids get around Christmas time. The kids know they'll be getting only 3 gifts, so there are no big disappointments. And what a great feeling when you're eight-year-old says, "Mom, this year for my frankincense gift, could I have a CD with hymns on it?"

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