Making Christmas Meaningful

Christmas is such an old faithful. Shows up every year on time without fail, generates warm fuzzy feelings of anticipation and delight… sometimes it’s hard to figure out what this festive season really is about, what with all the glittery lights, fancy baubles and the anticipation of our Christmas wish list becoming a material reality come the morning of the 25th. Modern tradition demands that we, at the very least, gather together with our friends and family for a hearty reunion, and the customary exchange of gifts. Without meaning to, we reduce the occasion to a mere excuse for more eating and shopping and acquiring.

How do we help to clear the confusion about Christmas and guide our kids to grasping a deeper appreciation of the occasion? There are simple ways to to make Christmas meaningful, even if it only means making a few changes to the way we celebrate it. Keeping in mind that we are blessed and to intentionally bless others is a good place to start.

Here are a few of our ideas:

1. Giving to Charitable Organizations
It will not cost a lot of money to support a person living in a third world country, but allowing your child to get to know another who is deprived of basic necessities and is in need of help can make a powerful impact on the way your child understands himself in relation to the world. When you make a one-time donation or sponsor a child at Compassion International or the Children’s Hunger Fund, know that you are making a real difference in another person’s life. Allow your child dip into his piggy bank if he will.

2. Volunteer Work and Acts of Kindness
Closer to home, there are charitable organizations caring for the elderly, needy families and children with terminal illnesses. There are meaningful ways to act in kindness apart from monetary donations. You can sign up as volunteers, or simply get your child to write words of encouragement or make handmade cards and gifts.

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Follow these links to find out how you can help:

3. Opening Your Home
Have an old relative or know someone who is estranged from family? Invite them to join in your celebrations. Share the joy and the warmth of the season with another who might otherwise not be able to experience these things.

4. Shop Online, Make A Difference
This year, put money into buying gifts that will make a huge difference in people’s lives. Useful gifts like sewing lessons, a goat or even a school! You might not actually be buying a real goat or school but these gifts represent a contribution to a long-term effort in helping to fight poverty among the most marginalized people in the world.

The danger in being accustomed to the comforts of modern life is that we easily forget that some of the most basic things in life do not come by easily for most people in the world. Help your children to see that there are kids just like them who are suffering from poverty, hunger, disease and the threat of death every day, simply because they do not have access to the means for survival. There may even be families you know of that are suffering because of circumstances beyond their control. These are people who have to face each day with real courage and strength. When we allow these realities to sink into our consciousness, we can become more grounded in the fact that we actually have more to give than to receive.

We wish all our readers a very blessed and meaningful Christmas!

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