Better to give than to receive?

Written by Joe Schafer 

We have likely all heard the phase “It is more blessed to give than to receive” from Acts 20:35. This is a powerful concept, but it can be difficult for kids to fully accept this around the Christmas season.

As a young child, I remember being consumed with what I was going to GET for Christmas. Now that I am a parent, I see my kids (probably like most kids) developing some of the same tendencies.

The Christmas season is all about giving and God modeled this when he gave us the greatest gift in history, his son Jesus. How can we help our kids focus on true meaning of Christmas and understand the value of giving during this time?

Here are 4 things that I have done with my kids over the past few years that have helped them focus less on getting gifts and to value the true meaning of Christmas:

#1- Participate with a gift-giving program. There are many programs like Toys for Tots, Give-A-Gift, or Family Blessing Project. Find one in your area and explain the concept to your kids, and allow them to contribute their own money or help you shop for gifts.

#2- Make reading the Christmas story part of your routine with your kids. My family has done a 25-day Christmas countdown. Each day we read a bible verse mentions a person or object from the Christmas story. After we read the verse, kids guess what person or object we will add to a magnet board nativity scene. This includes shepherds, sheep, Joseph, Mary, and the manger. On December 25, we add Jesus to the nativity. This has been a great way to spend a little bit of time each day reading scripture and talking about the Christmas story.

#3- Do a service project with your kids. This can be a variety of things from serving a meal at a homeless shelter or serving with a church ministry. The goal of this activity is to get kids to think about others and to use their time in a way that is entirely unselfish.

#4- Do something to give to people overseas. One year, in place of one of the gifts that we typically bought for the kids, we bought livestock for a family in Africa. This started a lot of great conversations with our kids about giving and praying for people around the world. The kids also really connected with the idea of buying people animals. What kid doesn’t like animals! CLICK HERE for information on one of the organizations that does this.

Joe Schafer has been married to Rachael for 13 years and has two kids. He has been serving in children’s and youth ministry for 14 years at Allison Park Church.