Marriage: The 12 Days of a Christ-Centered Christmas
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 a windfall. Christmas is about getting.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am in no way a scrooge. I love the gift giving tradition at Christmas. As a child, I too loved receiving gifts and didn’t start buying my own gifts for others until I was a teenager. I am still a sappy sentimentalist. I think I even love buying gifts for my kids and grandkids far more than I once 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…” Jesus was God’s gift to the world. 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. So, during the “12 days of Christmas” this year, allow me to share some suggestions of how your family can get in on some of the BEST GIFTS EVER to be giving.
These 12 gifts will be even more impactful when they spring from your heart — the inside —and they explode outward into the lives of people in your world. With the help of each family member, try to give away five of these gifts to have an average Christmas. For a transforming Christmas give away 8 of these Gifts. For a really Super-blessed, God-drenched Christmas, do all of them in the “12 days of Christmas” fashion. Read, discuss, and divide and conquer. See how many your family can give this Christmas!
The 12 Days of Making a Big Difference this Christmas!
Day 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 a family member, a friend or a neighbor.
Day 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.
Day 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- that you thanks God for them this Christmas!
Day 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.
Day 5: A Gift of Encouragement – Write a card to someone that you feel needs your support at 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.
Day 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 that you bring, read the Christmas story and give them a small token of your love for them.
Day 7: A Gift of Forgiveness – Within your own or the extended family, identify a hurting relationship and during the Christmas season seek to reconcile with that person offering your love – even your apology if needed – and your desire for restoration.
Day 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.
Day 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.
Day 10: A Gift of Effort – Decide together on a project and do some work for someone. You could paint a room, help clean house or yard, decorate for Christmas or babysit for them so they can shop.
Day 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 and share the gift.
Day 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 make in you this next year.
It is my hope that your decision to take the challenge to live out the 12 Days of Christmas will be one of the most rewarding experiences for you, your marriage and your 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 in a Christ-honoring way. God bless your Christmas!
© Dr. Dave Currie – November 2021