Have You Forgotten Him

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown Christmas used to be my favorite holiday as a child. I loved everything about it, the decorations, food, carols, family and of course, presents. But as I became an adult, I found myself disappointed with the holidays. The true meaning of Christmas was somehow lost. Somewhere the joyous day that I remembered as a child was traded for a big commercialized nightmare. Jesus had been forgotten. No room in the inn has been replaced with 'sold out' signs. Society has taken Christ out of Christmas. I remember when it was a day of giving, prayer, kindness, and helping those less fortunate. But the horrible reality is Santa has become the only symbol of Christmas. Children are literally bombarded with commercials during the holidays. Stores are packed with frantic Christmas shoppers and Jesus has somehow been lost in the chase for the perfect Christmas gift. A 2003 survey by Leger Marketing indicates that each individual Canadian will spend an average of $575 on Christmas. According to The Center for a New American Dream (http://www.newdream.org/) the amount of money an average American planned to spend on holiday gifts in 2001 was $1,042. It's your story, and it's my story and everywhere that we turn, Christmas comes with a price tag. Good grief Charlie Brown, I believe you were right in your lament about Christmas. Society has sure changed since a Charlie Brown's Christmas aired on Television. Even the Grinch who stole Christmas learned a valuable lesson - that Christmas is something much more that presents. Though Children may be "bombarded," with the influence to want things, leading by example is one way that we can teach them the true meaning of Christmas. Your child most likely has no idea what this Holiday is about and as an adult, you have most likely forgotten yourself. Here are some ways you can teach your children the true meaning of Christmas. Last year my husband and I canceled Christmas. Not entirely - but we educated our children, with the meaning of the Holiday. 1. I had my children go through their old toys and clothes, and what they did not play with anymore, we donated to the annual toy drive. The clothes that didn't fit were donated to the Salvation Army. I think that it really made my children appreciate the gifts that they did receive. 2. As you snuggle down in your warm bed tonight, remember that many people are homeless. Buy canned goods and other nonperishable items and deliver them to your local food bank. You can also help the less fortunate people of your community this holiday season by volunteering at a soup kitchen. 3. Take a basket of homemade bake goods to a senior. 4. Engage your children in activities that demonstrate the true meaning of Christmas. December 9th I'm looking forward to seeing my son perform in the church Christmas pageant. 5. Visit the elderly in a nursing home - Last year my daughter with her youth group sang Christmas carols at the local nursing homes. 6. If you have young children - teach them that Santa only brings one gift as he has so many other children to bring to. By doing this, you have already begun to teach your child limits. For my children who are now older, I let them know what is within my budget and what isn't. 7. Before giving gifts this Christmas visit buynothingchristmas.org. Buy Nothing Christmas was founded by Canadian Mennonites to combat North American consumerism and needless spending. 8. Do you ever feel that your friends and family don't really need the gifts you give them? Then Buy gifts for the world's poor in their name through Tear's Really Useful Gift Catalogue: < http://www.tear.org.au/giftcatalogue/index.shtml > 9. Attend church with your children. 10. Give a gift to World Vision this Holiday < http://www.worldvision.ca>, donate to The World Wildlife Fund < http://www.wwf.ca>, plant a greener tomorrow < http://www.evergreen.ca >, Support international fair trade by purchasing handicrafts at Ten Thousand Villages < http://www.tenthousandvillages.com > By teaching our children that is more important to give than receive, we are teaching them the true meaning of Christmas. Last year I had a quiet Christmas at home with just my husband and two children. We exchanged our gifts, watched some movies, played some games, and had a nice Christmas dinner. During our meal, we prayed and told reasons why we were thankful and in the evening we lit a candle in remembrance of loved ones. Within those precious family moments spent, I believe we learned the true meaning of Christmas. Is Christmas just about presents and decorations or is there something that we are missing? What do I want for Christmas? I want for the season's blessing to reach far and beyond the pretty presents wrapped with a bow and glowing with tiny lights, which are under your tree, I want peace on earth, goodwill to all and I want Christ put back into Christmas.