A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of The Great. Proverbs 18:16
My MOSAIC Moms Group has been meeting for over six years. For our December gatherings, we skip reading a chapter of whatever book we’re using for reflection and discussion, and do a Yankee Swap instead. Because we’re all moms, and we’re overwhelmed and crazy at this time of year, we swap re-gifted or gently used items so we don’t have to add one more thing to our shopping list.
This year, I decided to add a new element to the gathering.
Wanting to center us in the Reason for the Season, I opened with a few Advent reflections and some music to draw us into the nativity scene I had placed in our midst. Then, I asked if we could exchange gifts with God.
On a piece of paper, each of us wrote down what we were giving to God for Christmas, and also noted what we hoped to receive from Him. We then put our papers in envelopes and placed them at the feet of the Christ Child in the manger.
I can’t speak for the other women in my group, but the short activity had a deep impact on me. Where I used to think of the act of exchanging gifts as being usurped by commercialism and greed, I saw how meaningful a gift exchange can be if we take it back to the Source.
Not only did God give each of us the gift of life, but when we screw up, making mistakes that put our soul in jeopardy, He gives us the gift of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. Is there any greater gift?
Put that in the context of motherhood. After giving our all to our kids, and watching them make mistake after mistake, are we willing to lay down our lives to redeem them? I, for one, hope I would. But when I’m fed up beyond belief, and want my kids to feel and experience the repercussions of their bad choices, I begin to wonder if my love is that great and pure.
I think it’s important to feel that doubt. It helps us understand the monumental significance of Christmas. God’s love has no limits, no doubts, no strings attached. It is all encompassing and completely trans-formative for those who choose to receive it. I ask again: Is there any greater gift?
Realizing, now, how much that little exercise impacted me, I plan on doing the same thing with my kids on Christmas day. I want to help them further understand the magnitude and magnificence of the birth of the tiny baby we celebrate.
After the excitement of receiving their material gifts is over, I want them to switch gears and focus on a whole different type of gift exchange: One that helps them realize the extend of what Jesus will do for them, if they just ask. I also want to inspire them to think more deeply about what they should be doing for Him in exchange.
Questions for Reflection:
* Have I considered exchanging gifts with God this Christmas? If so, what would I ask for? What would I give?
* Have I considered leading my kids in a gift exchange with the Newborn King?
Merry Christmas everyone! I wish you all the magic and the miraculous that this great day holds!
This is beautiful, Claire! To do this after the flurry of opening gifts to each other, is a wonderful idea–more time to really reflect on true meaning of Christmas. You never cease to amaze me with your insight and gift for passing it on to all of us!! xoxo
Thanks, Mom! I’m excited to try this new activity with my kids. I’m hoping it makes Christmas more meaningful. Can’t wait to celebrate with you tonight!
It was a beautiful moment and I am so grateful to you for all you did to make that evening even more special. I plan to do the same with my children on Christmas day, thanks so much for the idea and for sharing it with all of us!
Oh I’m so excited you’re going to be doing it with your kids, Jess! That means a lot! Here’s hoping all our kids get a bit closer to the Christ Child this Christmas!