All about the kids??

Better late than never, right?? I wrote this for Exemplify's family channel and it posted last week -- soooo, for those of you who didn't catch it ... here you go! You can see it in it's original glory by clicking here. Don't forget to head over to the current post for the family channel - Amy wrote an amazing and introspective post and you've just GOT to read it! : )

With out further ado...

I still remember the pain I felt last Christmas when a family member suggested that we make it all about the kids. Her idea was that we wouldn’t get each other (siblings) presents; rather, we would just buy gifts for each other’s children. It seems like a harmless suggestion, but we were the only ones without kids. It hurt us. Christmas already held the potential to be painful that year. It was never far from our thoughts that we “should” have two little boys to shop for and spend Christmas with. Seeing all the parents taking the kids to see Santa and receiving happy cards with a smiling Mom and Dad and one or more chubby grin peeking back only reminded us that we were missing one of life’s greatest treasures. Added to that was the disappointment of not getting to spend Christmas with the twins we foster parented earlier that year. So, when our family member made the “kids only” gift exchange suggestion it was just salt to an already open wound.

We wallowed around in our pain for a couple days, but the more we thought about the phrase “all about the kids this year…” I kept thinking that Christmas should be all about One Baby every year. It truly is a child – centered day. So we focused on this Baby who changed our lives forever and the more we did, the most wonderful thing happened.

God did a work in our hearts over the next few weeks, as we longed to be able to shop for our child while anticipating the excitement and joy in a little face. God provided a way for us to pour out all our love into a child. We knew there were plenty of children out there who wished they could look forward to Christmas morning the way the other kids did. We knew there were mothers and fathers who held the same dreams we did. They wanted to give their children the most wonderful Christmas morning ever, but lacked the funds to do it. I can’t imagine the pain that caused their hearts. I think it might be a little like ours. We have a lot to give, but no one to give it to. They had little ones they wanted to give to, but nothing to give.

So, we took a name off a tree in Wal-Mart and had a blast. We bought the cutest little girl clothes you ever saw. We got a Tinkerbelle pillow and books, and bows, and dolls. We poured out all our love into a name written on a paper star. I have no idea who she is. I only know she’s three and now sleeps with a Tinkerbelle pillow. I have no idea what her face looked like when she saw her presents, but I am sure her parents delighted in every little grin and squeal of joy. As we watched our siblings enjoy their children’s response to gifts we were able to sit in contentment and know that we had done the same thing for a child that year.

We learned from experience last Christmas that, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 NIV

As this Christmas quickly approaches let us all find ourselves searching for ways to make this verse reality in our lives. Let’s give, and then give some more to those who are in need. After all, Christ came as the greatest gift of all to give us (the neediest of all) eternal life. Can you find ways this year to follow His example?


3 Blessings said...

I loved your post from last week and thank you for linking me.

Jim and April said...

i agree! Its so much better and rewarding to give than to receive! Thanks for this uplifting post!

Laurie said...

Lauren, I love this post. Although I'm single and have no children, I was able to participate in my work's Christmas Magic. We adopted a family and bought gifts for the children. I had so much fun buying for these little girls. I know they are going to be so happy come Christmas morning. Like Acts says, it's better to give than receive.

Kristin said...

I know that little girl must have been so excited to get her gifts and blessed so much by the love you poured into them! Our small group went shopping last week for a family that we adopted....we had the best time! And then we had the best time wrapping them all on another night.

Joye @ The Joyeful Journey said...

Wow, you turned such a heartache into joy for another little one that needed it! This is so beautiful, Lauren.

He & Me + 3 said...

That was beautiful Lauren. You inspire me. The last two years we have put the emphasis on giving instead of receiving in our house too. Don't get me wrong...kids are kids and they still want to receive, but buying for others and donating and giving of our time over the Christmas season helps shift their wants. We are trying to make it a year round thing. To give when we see a need. THat is what Jesus would do.
I know that little girl was blessed by your generosity!

Alicia said...

Lauren...that was so beautiful!!! One of our pastors suggested that each home fellowship pray about a family to adopt for Christmas. I'm so excited about that!!

Jennifer said...

I love picking names from those trees and shopping for the children. I can just image the joy they have on Christmas when they get to open gifts... just warms my heart!! :)

Franchesca Cox said...

I needed to read this. It crushed me a few nights ago as I was shopping for my nieces and nephew and realized I should be shopping for my daughter too. It was so hard. But thank you for sharing your experience from last year. How wonderful that you got to help that little girl.


crittyjoy said...

I loved this post last week and I love it more this week. It made me cry today. I love how you turned pain into JOY! If we could remember to do that sometimes...it's hard and the pain is still there but for a little while but the joy is so worth it.

Thank you for this perspective I know you have helped change mine.