What they believe about Christmas is determined by what we teach them,but as I bustle about this busy time of year, I remember this truth: Children learn more by what is caught than taught.
- I see them watching my face, as we walk the glittering holiday aisles at Target. They notice how much I get sucked in by “stuff”.
- They see how I respond to getting or not getting something I think I need.
- I know they are listening to my tone of voice when I talk about the expectations and obligations of the season.
- I hear them talk about the Christmas season the way I talk about it…both in edifying ways, as well as ways I’d rather them not emulate.
What will my five sons take with them someday when they leave home and begin Christmas celebrations of their own?
- I would love for my children to adopt our family’s traditions or special recipes, but the best cookie recipes and Christmas Eve traditions would be in vain if they miss the treasure of worshiping Christ at Christmas.
- I hope my children will find warmth in all the cinnamon scented candles, twinkling lights, and thoughtfully wrapped gifts that adorn our home every December, but it’s all for naught if I’m only successful at leaving a legacy of ambience.
- I long for my kids to grow in gratitude and generosity with each Christmas; and yet, if I model generosity bound by convenience and comfort, my kids will simply learn giving as an event rather than as a sacrificial lifestyle.
What they treasure at Christmas will be captured through our example.
This responsibility would be paralyzing if not for the wonderful Grace of God. Isn’t it freeing when we remember that God is at work in our lives, drawing us to Himself, day by day, Christmas after Christmas. He is faithful to pursue us and win us over with the treasure that is Himself.
But I respond in faith as He molds me as a mother this Christmas. I’m setting aside the anxious yearnings and the perfectionistic propensities this Christmas, starting by simply treasuring Christ. I’m returning to one of the most familiar truths from the mouth of our Lord:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
May we find our greatest joy and warmest memories this Christmas nestled within the glorious truth of our salvation…and may our children catch that treasure within us and come to celebrate with the same heart.