Developing Character at Christmas
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
In a day of extreme excess and people forgetting the true meaning of Christmas, Christian people must purpose in their mind and be deliberate in their actions to accurately portray Christmas to the family and to others.
The American Research Group reports: “Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $929 for gifts this holiday season, up from $882 last year according to the 32d annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc. Planned gift spending for 2016 is $47 above spending in 2015 and it is the first time planned gift spending exceeds $900 since 2006.”
Black Friday, and Cyber Monday were again record breaking days in the number of sales and dollars transacted.
I like the choir song: “Much to do no time to do it, I can’t get it all done at Christmastime…”
With our schedules and minds being pulled in so many different directions, sometimes we forget the real purpose and meaning of Christmas!
Here are some ideas to help build character in yourself and your family members.
Emphasize Giving, Not Getting. In Acts 20:35 Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
- Encourage kids to give outgrown cloths.
- Encourage the family to give unused toys (Even the tools and toys the men may have).
- Exemplify giving to others in more need. Find someone to give food or essential items. Give things that you enjoy that others may enjoy them too.
- Enjoy sharing a meal with others.
- No matter our age, occupation, or financial status, each of us are in a position where we can give something to someone else.
Encourage Moderation, Not Excess. Philippians 4:5 declares: “Let your moderation be known unto all men.”
Moderation means appropriate and mild. When the wise men celebrated Jesus, they did so with three meaningful gifts: “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
The gold was worthy of a King, the frankincense demonstrating His purity, and the myrrh represented His purpose for coming, to die on the cross. Most of the time a few quality gifts mean more.
Joseph was able to take baby Jesus to Egypt and escape the murderous plot of King Herod to kill all the baby boys age 2 and under. Joseph left his job and had the ability to move because of these meaningful gifts.
With our children we have purpose behind each gift. We give…
- An item they were hoping for. An item that would be on a “Wish list.”
- An item they share with others in watching or listening to. An old TV show or movie that does not take away but contributes to godly character.
- An item they can play with others. A board game, basketball, or even a video game would work here.
Cloths are a necessity so we do not include them as an item. Three gifts are all we plan for. Be purposeful with your gifts. You may have some priorities that are like the above suggestions. Whatever you do – have a purpose of some kind behind each one. Be generous – with purpose and meaning.
Enable Simplicity, Not Busyness.
The church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2 “left their first love.” How can that happen? Because of the excess, commercials, and lustful society we live in – it is easy to get caught up with material things and business too.
Proverbs 4:23 instructs: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” In order to keep safe our heart – we must have a greater purpose and plan.
Sometimes we are so busy we do get anything done. Many of us do not accomplish anything that is worthwhile even though they have stress, work, and all the other symptoms of being productive.
SELAH – Stop and Think – is a needed practice at Christmas time. Here are some suggestions to help you not be so busy that you forget what Christmas is really all about.
- Read the Christmas Story in Matthew 2 and Luke 2.
- Go to and participate in special church programs, but lesson your overall commitments of time and energy to things that have less than spiritual purposes.
- Turn off the tv during the days off school. Our kids should not sit in front of a tv from 8 am to 3 pm.
- Tune up beautiful Christmas Music. There are many wonderful Christian radio websites that will encourage you. Please see the other postings for their addresses.
- Go Christmas Caroling.
- If you do watch a Christmas Movie, do so together as a family.
Be Purposeful – to Develop Character at Christmas. Since Jesus Himself is the gift of Christmas, the things we do and give should reflect Him. After all – It is His birthday we are supposed to be celebrating.