I had to laugh as I watched the commercial. A woman and man were running towards each other just like you see in an old romantic movie. But as they get nearer and nearer, arms stretched out ready for an embrace, they bypass each other. The woman’s face drops, she cries and looks distressed. As she lifts her head, a red sweater is hanging on a clothes line in front of her. The tag line, “The man may leave you, but the sweater never will!”

Hardly a Hallmark moment!

But the idea that a gift can bring you joy is only true for a moment. More is needed for continuous joy! And there is one gift that lasts for a lifetime and brings comfort and joy. It’s not the sweater!

Watching the TV commercials and Christmas movies, you could easily forget about the true meaning of Christmas. Part of the challenge during this final weekend of Christmas is to be intentional about the holiday and focus on the spiritual significance through all that surrounds us.

Here are 3 strategies to help avoid the commercialization of Christmas.

  1. Advertisers see your children as consumers who will persuade you to buy their products. Thus, they target kids to do just what many do—hound parents for specific toys. It’s great to purchase that trendy toy or wanted gaming system, but if you do, tie it to the greatest gift ever–Christ was born. For unto us a Savior if given. Enjoy the gift giving with your kids but use it to point to God’s gift to us.
  2. Support real life activities that involve giving to others, e.g., preparing and taking food baskets to the poor, serving in a soup kitchen or mission, buying and wrapping gifts for the needy, singing at a nursing home, making cookies for neighbors, etc. Take your children with you to deliver goods or serve at a mission. Help them understand that it is better to give than receive.  Model it this time of year.   A small gesture like putting money in the Salvation Army’s ringer bowl is a message to children that giving to the needy is important.
  3. Read the Christmas story and attend special church plays and musicals or a Christmas service. Draw children’s attention to the spiritual side of Christmas because the culture will not do this. The pull towards materialism is strong but parents can change the focus. Again, this requires intention on your part.

The key is to keep bringing the focus back to the real meaning of this holiday. As a reminder, my mom’s Hummel Nativity scene greets you when you walk in my front door. The manager scene reminds us of the reason we are joyous. God gave us a gift, His Son sent as a baby.

This gift is not for one year, but lasts for all the years to come. And this gift continues into eternity. It is the gift of eternal life spent with God.

No dream destination can match this prize. No sweater, car, new gadget or money can bring such comfort and joy.

During Christmas, receive the gift of God’s Son. It is freely given. JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME!

Keep the right Christmas focus

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