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A few weeks ago I asked some friends about their Santa traditions. My family is at that stage now, when our son is starting to grasp the meaning and traditions of Christmas. Well, as much as a 3 year-old can, anyway!

My friends’ answers ranged all over–and don’t worry, I’m not going to get into that whole debate here!–but needless to say, the STRUGGLE IS REAL. We’re all just trying to figure out how to balance the truth of Christmas and the good news of Christmas, with the fun and imagination of it.

Thank goodness, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Last month I shared about Operation Christmas Child, and how much fun we had picking out gifts for a child. It was a great conversation starter with our toddler, and it was a helpful tradition to establish in our family.

This week, we continued the conversation about generosity and God’s great gift to us, with more help from Samaritan’s Purse. Each year Samaritan’s Purse offers a Gift Catalog featuring 42 gifts you can purchase to help people in need and share the gospel. These gifts include things like…

1418VN Vietnam Projects– $14 for baby chicks, so that a family has an ongoing source of nutrition and supplemental income

– $9 to feed a hungry baby for a week

– $20 for clean water

– $25 to provide warm clothes and shoes for families fleeing to safety in Northern Iraq

-$35 to help renovate a hospital

– $100 to provide education, vocational training, and assistance for the prevention of human trafficking.

The gifts range in price from $7 to $35,000, but you can contribute a portion of an amount to any cause you feel passionate about.

To check out the full list, just click here.

IMG_3019I sat down with Isaac to show him some of the gift options, and no surprise, he LOVED the “baby chickens.” However he also liked looking at the photos and discussing the people he saw. The catalog is packed with photos and descriptions of the causes, which are a great entry point for talking about this big, wide world we live in, and what it means to love Jesus in the midst of it.

Just hop on over to the catalog and see which causes resonate with you. It’s such a powerful way to reach into the world with the love of Christ, just as he did for us, 2,000 years ago.

As a final word to all you parents who feel discouraged and overwhelmed by the consumerism and the “me”-ism of Christmas, I want to encourage you. I don’t know about you, but when I was a little girl I was not the pinnacle of generosity and selflessness. Back then, Christmas was about presents, and I was UNASHAMED. I believed in Santa and Rudolph and the whole nine yards, and despite my parents’ best efforts, Jesus was more or less a footnote. He just couldn’t compete with cookies and lights and a new Barbie doll.

But God was at work. He planted seeds in my little present-obsessed heart that eventually grew into love for Christ. Over time, God righted my priorities.

Thanks to resources like this one from Samaritan’s Purse, we have help shepherding our own children along that same path. But more importantly, we have the help of the Holy Spirit, who speaks to the hearts of our children in a way no culture, commercialism, or branding ever could.

I draw a lot of comfort from that. God takes our best parenting and our broken parenting and uses it all.

I hope the Gift Catalog will help you model Christ’s love to your children, and I hope it will help your family to have an intentional Christmas this year. It’s a wonderful vehicle for the work of the Holy Spirit, whose grace stretches out across the world, and into the tiny hearts sitting right next to us.


*This post was sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 9.59.09 PMSharon



One Comment

  • Victoria says:

    Hi Sharon
    Children love presents. I thought how wonderful that is when they understand the present Jesus has for them. It doesn’t have to be about consumerism. Gifts can show someone was thinking about and loving us.

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