Teachable moments at Christmas: Giving

When we talk about giving at Christmas we often think of the nicely wrapped present under the Christmas tree. But for our family, giving is so much more than that.

You may have heard of Gary Chapman’s ‘Five Love Languages’, which explores five different ways people show and receive love. They are quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service and gifts. In our family, receiving gifts isn’t high on anyone’s list of how we feel loved, but acts of service, words of affirmation and quality time very much are.

This year, with finances stretched for most people, we’ve been thinking about how we can use the five love languages to creatively find ways to give gifts, and to use them as teachable moments to talk about God’s love for us.

  • Quality time
    God’s incredible gift to us of Jesus didn’t come elaborately wrapped. He was given to us in simple, messy surroundings. The shepherds’ response was to give their time to visit him. Let’s ask our children if there is someone that we can give our gift of time to this Christmas?
  • Physical touch
    Many people in our community will be experiencing loneliness this Christmas and may not have much physical company. A gentle hand on the shoulder while we chat or linking arms as we walk together might say so much to them. Jesus was physically present with the people around him. We can talk to our children about how we could do the same this Christmas.
  • Words of affirmation
    Writing an encouraging note or card, that can be read again and again, is a great way to show others that we love and value them. Rather than just writing a standard greeting in our Christmas cards, we could include a more personal note. We can talk to our children about how God has given us the gift of the Bible to read often as a reminder of how much he loves us.
  • Acts of Service
    As a family, we always look to do one simple act of kindness each weekend throughout advent. It might be leaving a £1 in the trolley for the next shopper, blessing our neighbours by clearing snow from outside their house or offering to get their groceries. We can talk to our children about how Jesus came to serve and love others, and how we can follow his example.
  • Gifts
    We may want to buy or make gifts for those we love, or those who are in need. The wise men would have chosen their gifts because of what they represented – Jesus’ royalty, holiness and humility – it was not about the monetary value.  What gifts could you make or buy for others this Christmas that represent something important about your relationships?

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