When Christmas time approaches the ‘Gimme Monster’ rears it’s ugly head, and the media feeds it.
Commercialisation of Christmas encourages people, young and old, to feel entitled to receive gifts and to give gifts (mostly commercial) in order to demonstrate goodwill. This desire and need to receive – is what I call the ‘Gimme Monster’ – ‘gimme’ more and more and more…It is wonderful to receive a gift, and even more wonderful to see the joy on someone’s face when you give a gift. What is the problem then? How do we share in these beautiful opportunities with our kids without this ‘Gimme Monster’ raising it’s head; how do we teach them to participate in this joy but at the same time help them to move away from the sense of entitlement or the notion that we need to give ‘commercially’ in order for it to be something of worth?
We should make our children aware of the difference between need and want and involve them in serving others who are in need. We should teach them about mindful giving. We should create opportunities for them to participate in giving authentically. Children need to know why gifts are given. They need to know that it is a love language of appreciation, and a message that others care. When children are included and guided in selecting gifts for others with care, when they participate in making homemade gifts, and when they are given the opportunity to give charitably, they learn that giving is not just about the money, it is about the ‘heart’ of it all.
Our school is involved with the ‘Care Bag’ project in part because it is an amazing opportunity to give, but also because it is an opportunity for our students to learn to give where it counts. We hope our students will be made aware of their privileges and be encouraged to appreciate what they have too. Appreciation should go far beyond the goods we possess, to extend to the blessing of having family and friends around us at this festive time. Christmas giving should bring a message of love, care and appreciation to those we have the opportunity to give to.
Let us celebrate Jesus’ birthday the way He lived – with love and care for others.