Struggling with Christmas, Part 3: Giving & Receiving

Here is another reason we struggle with Christmas. I desire to give our kids the good gifts they want without giving in to the  “newer”, “bigger”, “better” mentality that is rampant all around us.

We’ve all been there, right? We’ve all asked our kids to make a list of what they want for Christmas. Then we’ve taken that list and compared it to the budget we have for gifts. Sometimes the budget can handle the expectations; sometimes it can’t. How do we balance the level of expectation with our ability to provide? How do we lead our families through the rough waters of entitlement?

We can navigate those waters. We can bring them back to the Savior. We bring them back to His simple words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts. 20:35). We have to teach them the benefits of generosity. We have to teach it because this isn’t our natural tendency. As we teach it, we have to give them practical demonstrations of how to be generous and why. We bring them back to Jesus because He’s the one who ultimately taught us.

How to teach generosity to kids

Generosity can’t be commanded; it must be voluntary. According to 2 Corinthians 8, there is blessing associated with voluntary generosity. Our kids have to want to. We need to teach them that when they give cheerfully it is out of seeking the well-being of another, not for what we can get out of it. Parents need to remind kids how generous God is with us through Jesus.

Generosity is about a sense of fairness. Be careful to hear what I am saying and what I’m not. I’m not saying equal. I’m talking about the kind of generosity that does it’s fair share to meet the needs of others. Parents, we need to be living in such a way that our kids see us being generous with our time, talents, and treasures in a way that meets a real need of those around us.

Our kids need to understand being generous is being like Jesus. It’s what He is. Our kids need to see Jesus as the Son of God, who loved us so much that He left heaven to come down and show us how to walk with God. His life showed what godliness looks like practially. His death showed us the lengths of His love and what generosity truly looks like. His resurrection removes the barrier of sin and death and provides the power through the Holy Spirit to be generous like He is generous.

Why teach our kids to be generous

The first thing our kids need to understand is that everything belongs to God and He gives to us so we can reflect Him to the world around us. 

We need to teach our kids to be generous because it’s a demonstration of faith. It’s a practical way to live out what we claim to believe. Being generous puts actions to our words and to our faith.

Not only that, but being generous with what God has given us allows us to be rich in the right things; God’s blessing. As we reflect God’s generosity to those around us, He gives us more to be generous with and more opportunities to do it.

Finally, if we are God’s child, saved by grace, then we truly lack nothing. Everything we have is from Him. When viewed this way, it’s easy to not get too attached to stuff and share what we have; in order to be a blessing to others.

What are we teaching our kids this year? To hoard or to bless? Let’s choose to teach generosity and reflect our generous God to the world around us.