Give Your Kids a Chance to Give More

Many people have expressed concern that Advent Conspiracy [AC] is perhaps not as black and white as it may seem at first glance. While most people agree with the idea and intentions of the movement, some concerns have been expressed.

Now, buying gifts is not in and of itself a bad thing. We are called to give. But to whom are you giving? Maybe instead of giving to people who already have abundantly more than they need, you could buy for those who don’t. Instead of buying a new jacket for your daughter, invite her to shop for a jacket for a young girl without a home and allow your daughter to share in the joy that comes with giving it to her. It’s easy to think that children won’t understand that concept, but you might be surprised… give it a chance. Don’t use it as an excuse.

In my mom’s post Yes, But: The Tensions of Advent Conspiracy, she expressed concern about me, her daughter, feeling slighted because of my faith in Jesus. I’m going to take a minute to speak to that because I think it’s a common and, yet, unnecessary concern. While children may be disappointed and not understand it all right away, it is a great teaching opportunity. Besides, some kids may love the opportunity to contribute to meeting the needs of the poor. Given the choice, it may surprise you how many of them would choose to give – they simply just don’t know how. They don’t have much of their own to give, but when enabled, they discover the joy they receive from it. Is there any age too young to start teaching this? Imagine a generation brought up with a passion to give to those in need.

The author and her sister begin a gingerbread-house-making tradition.

The author and her sister begin a gingerbread-house-making tradition

While my parents didn’t spend extravagant amounts of money on us kids at Christmas (for which I am grateful) I never in the least bit felt like I didn’t have enough. Furthermore, while I can’t recall most of the gifts I received, I can recount endless stories of the times we spent together as a family.

My memories are of bundling up to go cut down a Christmas tree and joking about all the “Charlie Brown” Christmas trees we saw. Listening to the same CD every year while decorating the tree and pulling out all the old homemade ornaments, laughing about the pig ornament or the many ridiculous old Sunday school ornaments that were clearly made in the 80’s and early 90’s. Arguing about whose Jesus got to be in the nativity scene or whose homemade star got to be on top of the tree – only to laugh about it years later.

The Lindroth sisters with their annual holiday creation

The Lindroth sisters with their annual holiday creation

I have memories of sitting in the light of advent candles, praying as a family, and reading part of the nativity story each week. Going to the Christmas Eve service, followed by a celebration with family friends in the neighborhood. Walking home in the cold, the crisp night air against my face and the crunch of snow under each step, hooting at owls in the trees overhead. I remember spending the night in my sister’s room and waking up early to play games before heading downstairs. Eating breakfast and lunch together around the dining room table. Walking down to the lake to work off all the food we just ate. Those are the memories I have, not of presents. Those are the things that will make Christmas special. And those are the things that make God smile.

Written by Nikki Lindroth

3 Responses to “Give Your Kids a Chance to Give More”

  1. 1 Nancy October 13, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Wow, I shouldn’t have bought you all that stuff all those years! 🙂

  2. 2 pat October 14, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    ahhh, the wisdom of age…..a beautiful remembrance of christmas giving!

  3. 3 Robert Deyes November 12, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Really nice story of what is important Nikki. I love the picture of your gingerbread house. Our kids made one last year and I remember how I wanted the house to look like the house that was pictured in the instruction manual. Our kids on the other hand just wanted to create their own with all its foibles and irregularities. I got caught up on the material things- I wanted the best gingerbread house we could make while the kids just wanted to have family fun! We can learn a lot from our kids :-).

    Blessings to you and your family this Christmas.


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Love All

Act Local: Share gifts of time and resources with those in our community. At the Impact Tree in the Atrium, find opportunities available for individuals, families and life groups. All the information you need will be on the cards by the Tree. Take a card – put an ornament on the tree.

Give Global: On Sunday, December 13 during services, we'll take up an Advent Conspiracy offering (a direct result of spending less) to give towards clean water projects and wheelchair needs in Honduras, Kenya and Romania. If you won’t be able to join us at services on that day but still want to participate, just write "Advent" in the memo of your check and drop it in any of the offering boxes.


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