GIFT-GIVING!--Burden or Blessing?--By Maria Maria #139 DO 2666 10/90
1. When we were considering what stories to pub in our Christmas Kidz Mag, one reason we had to eliminate certain ones & reword & change others is that they put too much emphasis on gift-giving to others.
2. Not only at Christmas time but birthdays also, we try to de-emphasise the exchange of gifts. One reason is because it can cause so much competition, & one gift leads to another. If we give a gift to one person, then we have to give a gift to everyone; & if one child gives a gift to his parents, then all of the children have to give gifts to all of their parents, & of course the parents have to give gifts to all of their children, & it just gets pretty complicated & a bit unmanageable after a while.
3. I very much like the idea that comes out in "The Happiest Christmas" story. (Kidz #71, page 14.) I think it's real good if the children are going to give gifts, to emphasise gifts from the heart & that they can make themselves without much supervision or without too much hoopla about it. But again, even that kind of gift can get to be a pretty big deal, even a bondage, where you feel that you have to give a gift on birthdays or Christmas, & then each child has to give each adult a gift & each adult or each set of parents have to give each child a gift, & you can still get yourself pretty much bound to a complicated tradition that takes a lot of time & even concern & worry on the children's part, not to speak of the adults!
4. Considering the way we live communally, it seems to me it would be quite difficult for some couple's eight or nine children to all stop everything else they're doing in order to make gifts for their mommy for her birthday & for their daddy for his birthday.--Especially if they were part of a large Combo Home.
5. It just seems that if we promote children giving gifts, it could turn into a big complicated & unnecessary problem. I know children do like to give gifts sometimes, but I would rather just let it be an occasional, on the spur-of-the-moment idea like, "How would all of you kids like to make little gifts for your daddies & mommies to show your appreciation for how they love you & take care of you," & not even make it a marking of any special day or any special event necessarily. It just seems that there are some pretty big problems with promoting gift-giving in any way, or even seeming to promote it.
6. If you're going to have children in a Combo Home give Christmas gifts, maybe each child could pick one adult member that they make a gift for.--Or some idea like that, sort of how we used to do in school when it came to Valentine's Day or even Christmas. You just picked a name out of the hat & you got the name of one child for whom you got a valentine, or you got a little Christmas gift for them. Many Christmas stories just take for granted that you've got to give gifts for Christmas, an idea that most of the System, of course, agrees with. But I'm not sure that we want to give our kids that idea!
7. I like the way that the "Love-Filled Crib" story in the KIDz Mag brings out the point that you can give gifts to Jesus by giving them to others.--Not presents wrapped in ribbons & bows, but things done for others can be things done for Jesus if you do them in His Name, & knowing that whatever you're doing, you're doing all to the glory of God.
8. That can help the children to better understand "The Happiest Christmas" story, & help them realise what Christmas is all about, who's supposed to give gifts to Who, & why they are being given. On Christmas we're celebrating Jesus' birthday, but actually, He's the One giving the gift to us. On His birthday, He gave Himself for us, & because of that, we should try to give Him gifts in return. But the way we can give Him gifts is to be the loving & giving people He wants us to be by doing loving things for others in His Name.--Which means we're actually doing things for Him most of all, because of our love for Him. (See Mat.25:40)
9. I think we should minimise the idea that we give gifts to other people because of what they've done for us.--Of course, it's true to some extent, but I think the major point we want to bring out is that we give gifts to others because of what Jesus has done for us, & because we love Him & want to please Him & want to make Him happy. That's the main reason we try to make others happy, because we love Jesus. Of course, we love them too, & others have done a lot for us & we also want to make them happy for that reason. But if we love the Lord, our main concern is pleasing Him & doing things for Him.
10. I know this might be a little bit of a heavy concept or distinction to make for children, but I think this really is what we do teach our kids, that they should do all to the glory of God & that "whatsoever they do in word & deed," they should do it for Jesus, & not for Man or for Man's approval or even because of what Man has done for them, but mostly because of what Jesus has done for them.--That when we love others, we're not doing it so much because we're merely returning others' love, but we're returning Jesus' Love.
11. Of course, we don't want to give the children the idea that the very best thing they can do for Jesus & for others is to do little work jobs in the arm of the flesh. Although those are important, our attitudes & our yieldedness to the Lord, our love for our peers etc. are all even more important. But in a child's life, one of the major manifestations of their yieldedness & love & obedience is often how willingly & cheerfully they do their little jobs.
12. I hope that the stories we have published in the Christmas Kidz will bring out the point that in doing things for others, we are doing them for Jesus, & that when we do things, we should do them first & foremost for Jesus. Of course, there is also an element of doing things for others because they've done things for us, & loving others because they love us. Even if we weren't Christians, even if we didn't have Jesus in our lives & weren't doing things for Him, we would probably do things for others, but only because we love them & they love us.
13. But when we give our lives to Jesus, that changes things entirely, & we're no longer our own, we're bought with a price, we're the Lord's, & we're to do whatever He wants us to, & we're to do all to His glory. So even when we do things for others, we are doing them for Him, as is brought out in the "Love Filled Crib" story.--"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."--Mat.25:40.
1) Could gift giving become an unfruitful & burdensome custom? [EDITED: "2"]
2) What should our motive be in giving gifts? What are the best gifts that we can give to others? [8,11,12
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