Materialism, Children, and Parenting

After much prayer and study, about two months ago our family decided that Christmas might not be the way Christ would like to be celebrated.  What was the one thing about forgoing this celebration that bothered me the most?  Our children would possibly not receive any gifts from us during the holiday season.  Sad, I know.   This is something that I prayed and thought about regularly, but I just couldn’t figure it out on my own and I didn’t sense any real direction from God.

On Thanksgiving evening, I ran to our local Wal-Mart to try to get a good deal on a laptop and printer that our family is in need of.  I missed out on the laptop,but was able to purchase the printer.  While there, bins of toys lined the aisles, and of course, I found three things that I just had to buy for my seven-year-old daughter.  (Thankfully all the carts were taken, or I probably would have bought more.  As it was, myself and my two oldest daughter’s arms were loaded down.  Sigh.)

At the time I reasoned that these toys were too good of a deal to pass up, and I would put them away for my girl’s birthday in April.  But the longer I looked at them, I decided that I just couldn’t wait until April.  You see, these are things that my daughter would really like, and I wanted to give them to her now.  You know, to get mom points for giving her such awesomeness.  As much as we moms do not like to admit it, when our child’s eyes light up it gives us a sense of pride.  Gift giving can be as much about us as it is about our children.

I decided that we would have a winter party in which each child would receive a gift…or three.  I then found three gifts for my other children, to be fair.  To be honest, I think I did pretty well when buying for my thirteen and twelve-year-old daughters.  They each received a pair of boots (which was much needed), and two DVDs each (I Love Lucy and Little House on the Prairie seasons).   But for my other children, that is a different story.  As a whole, I purchased needless junk for them.  I justified it though, since I spent roughly one-fifth of our normal Christmas budget.

I set the date for this past weekend, and let the grandparents know about it.  They still celebrate Christmas, and they wanted to get something for our children.  Since I cannot force them to have our same convictions, I said that was fine.

By the time our “party,” rolled around, I was beginning to have a sinking feeling.  Once all the gifts were distributed, I knew in my heart what had happened.

We were either celebrating “Christmas”, or we were just all-out celebrating ourselves.

The giving of worldly gifts is not of Christ.  Think about it…

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

1 John 2:15

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:2

I highly doubt that the Lord would want us to celebrate “His birth” with the giving of “earthly things.”  That just flies in the face of scripture.  I thought that this type of “Christmas-like” giving might be okay, if we didn’t put His name on it.

I was wrong.  Epic parenting fail.

Yes, my children’s eyes showed excitement, but they also showed greed.  They might have squealed while opening presents, but they also squealed while trying to defend their toys or “take” someone else’s.

Friends, this parenting thing is hard work.

But in the mess there is grace.  And in the actual, physical mess my living room became last night, I found God, and His answer regarding how we should give gifts to our children.

All things should point to Him.  Even the gifts themselves should point to Him.  Tons of needless, toy, junk, just doesn’t do that.

Today I am thankful for grace, and for answers.  I am praising Him this morning.

18 thoughts on “Materialism, Children, and Parenting

  1. Amanda says:

    Oh how we fail as parents….over..and..over again! But the Lord is gracious and merciful! You are obviously listening to the Lord, and have a heart that seeks His will in all things, and that is very encouraging to me.
    I do tend to agree with your opinion and findings on Christmas, how can we call it a celebration of Christs’ birth…the message just seems totally lost in all our pagan fanfare. But
    how dare we challenge such a long standing, much loved tradition! I have shared your thoughts with my Husband, but he does.not see it the same way. So we will still ne celebrating on Dec 25, but I will try to turn the focus of the day more on Christ, and still submit to my Husband’s wishes, and trust his judgement. My prayers are with you and your family as you seek the Lord’s will in your life xx

    how dare we challenge such a long-standing, much-enjoyed tradition. I have shared your thoughts with

  2. Alissa says:

    My family has never celebrated Christmas. I grew up without believing in Santa and Christmas tree or lights. I received presents of course from family members that just could not fathom my parents being so mean. 🙂 I have great parents by the way! My children are being raised in the same way. My youngest daughter has a birthday on the 29th of December so there are some gifts in December but my husband and I don’t go broke trying to buy up the stores. I enjoyed your article it was refreshing to see that we are not the only ones out there. 🙂

  3. Abigail says:

    My thought is that we should be celebrating, rejoicing, and speaking of Christ everyday. So having a “traditional” Christmas celebration with presents and stocking does not bother me. I appreciating reading your thoughts though!

  4. Sarah says:

    Soooo true! We do see kids can’t help but have that sin nature come out when they are tempted by all the worldly gifts around them at once! But oh boy, this is our second year forgoing Christmas, and we are still getting the comments and backlash from our family. It’s been a hard line to hold graciously, but well worth it. We see our children haven’t even asked for gifts, or expressed the slightest disappointment. That is the encouraging part. We are the weirdos now for sure!!

  5. Amber Hurd says:

    The bible never tells us to celebrate his birth and it never says the exact date when he was born. Christmas wasn’t even a national holiday until the 1900s. The puritans had it banned previously because they knew it had pagan roots and didn’t want anything to do with it. I believe Yahweh is trying to tell you that Christmas isn’t about his son at all but is under a guise of paganism. It is a terrible deception. I asked myself why does so many in the world celebrate Christmas even holly wood. When the world does something it cant be good. Yet, most of the world ignores the holy celebrations discussed in Leviticus 23. I used to celebrate Christmas and a few years back I started to feel like you now. I then did research and found out where Christmas really came from. I urge you to pray for wisdom and discernment and Yahweh will lead you to the truth! Thanks for sharing your story about it. May Yahweh bless you. Shalom.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you Amber. 🙂 Yes, we had decided to not celebrate Christmas, but I still tried to sneak some gifts in. Bad idea. 😉 Thank you for sharing!

      • Amber Hurd says:

        I really enjoyed your series on why not to celebrate Christmas. I know it is hard to totally not to do away with it. We were going to do gifts this year and not put up the decorations. We ended up not doing it at all but we did let a uncle who lives in California and came up to give the kids some gifts for their “birthdays” on last Sunday. Their bdays are October, November and two decembers. My youngest is still a baby and will turn one on my bday in May. I am still not sure on celebrating bdays either but I quit doing big parties long ago. I usually just make their favorite dinner, have cake and a few gifts. It is really encouraging to see some others wake up to truth. This was our first year not doing Christmas either.

      • Amber Hurd says:

        I guess the hardest part is that when others really don’t seem to understand why your are not doing it. But in 2nd thessalonians ch 2 it discusses why they might not. My kids took it pretty well. We just starting going to shabbat and they love it. I guess they know that they get little gifts here and there throughout the year and Yahshua (Jesus) spoke how the kingdom belongs to them and you have to be like a child to enter 🙂 and I know Yahweh will be pleased with our obedience and that is what is the most important. After all he knows what is best for us.

  6. Rachel says:

    To love and teach our children to give and how to receive is pointing to Him. Maybe not running from Christmas but learning how to make it about Him in a way that doesn’t offend those that enjoy celebrating Christmas while walking humble before God. Is it not the act so much as the heart? So much of what is right and wrong boils down to loving God and loving others. Being gentle and wise.

  7. Joyce @ QN says:

    I will admit to being bothered by the pagan roots of Christmas. Food sacrificed to idols would be a good example of something w/ pagan roots that Christ has told us is OK – IF we don’t cause someone to stumble in the process. When it comes to celebrating holidays – this verse often comes to mind…
    One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5

    I also think about the extravagent gifts that were given by the wisemen. There may be some sybolism to those gifts – but the scriptures never spell that out. (at least I’m not recalling anywhere that it is). Were they true disciples of Christ? We don’t know – they certainly knew of a saviour and certainly chose to give precious gifts. We should give our best too – to Jesus. I agree that simplicity should be the motto of a Christian…. definitely seems biblical. But to give gifts moderately I don’t find unbiblical.

    Bless you as you strive to please our Maker! I love how honest you’ve been w/ this series. Naming some things and heart responses few would like to admit. I’m not quite where you are – but you did cause me to think and seek the Lord on the whole Christmas thing – again. (I think it’s good to keep relooking at some things.) I have utmost respect for your convictions and encourage you to continue to walk in them. Jesus and His Word must be our guide in all things. When scripture is not black and white – that is where individual convictions come in. Let’s keep encouraging and challenging each other about why we do what we do! 🙂

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Joyce! I’ve had the same questions, and (in my opinion) think that most things are okay to partake of if done with a clear conscience. My problem with Christmas is that the name of Christ is put onto items and traditions that are rooted in idol worship, which the Lord says is not okay. (Deut. 12:30-31). I used to use Romans 14:5 to justify the celebration of Halloween (after all, All Hallows Eve originated in the Catholic Church), but then I realized that that verse is actually speaking of Sabbaths and I might be taking it out of context. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Many blessings to you! 🙂

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