“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” – Isaiah 9:6a
Raising children sometimes feels like a roll of the dice – a social experiment, if you will. There are so many intricacies and idiosyncrasies that play out from our own upbringing which ultimately factor into what we will (and won’t!) do when we begin to train up a child in the way s/he should go.
My wife and I don’t claim to have it all worked out. In fact, I’ve said on numerous occasions that we won’t truly know if the decisions and actions we’ve made were right until our two young children are in their twenties. Lord knows we’ve done the best we can to start them off right, though! In particular, we’ve taken a pretty hard stance on how they view this time of the year.
You see, a few years ago, we made the decision to turn the holidays upside-down as we approached Thanksgiving. Ironically, it appears that Thanksgiving typically launches the majority of us into the “getting” mode. Even as Black Friday now denigrates the week – effectively turning Thanksgiving into Black Friday Eve – we’ve transformed and transgressed the holiday into “Thanksgetting.” What am I getting on my plate(s)? What deals am I going to get tomorrow? What am I getting for Xmas? We tend to accent the commercialism and deals during this time of year—even making the day after Christmas a great time to get a “deal.”
What’s a mother and father to do when rearing children in such an environment? Well… drastic times call for drastic measures. To properly set up CHRISTmas, my wife and I, along with our children, now serve others on Thanksgiving which plants seeds for our children to be cheerful givers as opposed to cheerful receivers. It can be hard to figure out what to give children that, by and large, already have everything they need mixed in with a few wants. As such, to be sure that there is actually space for them to receive new gifts, we encourage them to find things they no longer play with (that are still in good condition) for the purpose of giving them away. Further still, upon opening their presents, they have yet another choice to make. It’s not hard to give away what they don’t want or play with anymore; but to give away something they just got for Christmas?… That’s something entirely different!
It’s gotten easier and easier for them to do over the years which, when combined with the birth of Jesus, really means that it’s gotten easier and easier for them to understand what it means to give their best to those who don’t have. In essence, they’re learning to appreciate the sacrifice God the Father made when He sacrificed His Son by sending Him to us (the poor in spirit) – even though He knew we’d squander the gift and bury it among the lesser trinkets of the world. And maybe we’re just being naïve, but I’ve got to believe that any adult who’s brought up as a child learning the importance of giving as opposed to getting will be better positioned to be less of a taker when he or she is an adult.
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” – Matthew 25:35-40
“…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
– Acts 20:35c-e
Reggie and Quiana Kee have known each other for over 20 years and were married in 2004. They were licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in 2015 at the Kingdom Advancement Center in Elgin, Ill., where they currently reside. They have two children and are the co-founders of Ink Well Spoken and Manu Forti Ministries, which serve as the marketplace and faith-based programs for their motivational speaking initiatives.”