Marriage: Turning Your Christmas Inside Out
We often hear the quote, “It is better to give than receive.” Deep down in our hearts, we know it is true yet, that’s not the way Christmas is celebrated in most families. We have inadvertently taught our children that Christmas is the time to really cash in on getting what they want. It becomes an expectation. Christmas is about getting.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a scrooge. I love the gift giving tradition at Christmas. As a child, I too loved receiving gifts and didn’t start buying gifts for others until I was a teen. Still, I am a sappy sentimentalist and I love buying gifts for my kids and grandkids far more than I enjoyed getting them as a child. I guess it is part of the life cycle, likely for all of us.
We all know the true meaning of Christmas is about giving – “For God so loved that He Gave…” My challenge is that you and your family in the true spirit of this season become less self-absorbed and more enamored with giving of yourselves to others. Allow me to give you some suggestions of how your family can have the best Christmas ever.
I have listed 12 ways to ‘turn your Christmas inside out’. These gifts need to spring from your heart – the inside – and they explode outward into the lives of people in your world, turning your Christmas inside out! With the help of each family member see if you can give five of these gifts away. For a real challenge, do all of them in the 12 days of Christmas fashion. Read, discuss, and decide as a family which of these gifts you want to give.
Gifts to Turn Christmas Inside Out
1. A Gift of Affirmation
Write a letter to a person where this could be their last Christmas. Whether age or health issues complicate their future, share your appreciation for what they mean to you. It could be family, friends or a neighbor.
2. A Gift of an Invitation
Add a plate at your table for your Christmas turkey dinner and invite someone who is away from their family either by distance or differences. Make them feel welcome into your family traditions.
3. A Gift of Tribute
Choose someone very close to you and create a Facebook message declaring to the world the love and respect you have for them.
4. A Gift of a Phone Call
Reconnect with an old friend or extended family member that you haven’t talked to for years to reminisce days gone by, get caught up on their life and thank them for their love and friendship.
5. A Gift of Encouragement
Write a card to someone that you feel needs your support as this time. Whether they have been through a tough season, a loss of job, or health or financial pressures, God knows they could use your words of hope and support.
6. A Gift of Your Presence
Drop in on a shut-in as a family and bring Christmas to them. Sing a carol or two, share a dessert you bring, read the Christmas story and give them a small token of your love for them.
7. A Gift of Forgiveness
Within your own or the extended family, identify a hurting relationship and over the Christmas season seek to reconcile with that person offering your love and desire for restoration.
8. A Gift of Blessing
Write a note of affirmation to each of the members of your immediate family to share the reasons why you love and appreciate them.
9. A Gift of Cash
In the random act of kindness fashion, look for someone who is struggling financially and could use the help. Simply put cash in an envelope with an anonymous note of support and leave it where they will find it.
10. A Gift of Effort
do some work for someone…. help them clean house, yard, decorate for Christmas, babysit so they can shop,
11. A Gift of Understanding
Attend a Christmas event or church service in your community for the sole purpose of reestablishing the truth of what Christmas really is about. Invite someone to come with you.
12. A Gift to God
Spend an uninterrupted hour alone with God to thank Him for what He’s done for you and discuss your life with Him and what changes He would want you to make this next year.
It is my hope that your decision to take the challenge to turn your Christmas inside out will be one of the most rewarding experiences for you, your marriage, and family. In doing so, you will receive the biggest blessing out of giving – matching the true spirit of the season. You’ll never regret putting your marriage and family first as you help them put others first. God bless your Christmas!
© Dr. Dave Currie – November 2010