Jesus took it for granted that his disciples would share with their offspring: ‘You … know how to give good gifts to your children’, he once declared (Luke 11:13).
It is natural and normal to love children. Christmas is a time to express that love by giving presents.
The quality and quantity of gifts depends, of course, on economic realities. Millions, because of poverty, simply cannot give expensive gifts to children at Christmas. Many relief agencies and other institutions are now involved in helping to meet the needs of poor families.
Yet, undeniably, there is no substitute for some physical expression of love at Christmas time. Christmas presents under the tree gladden the hearts of little ones. But we should never forget that some of the best gifts cost nothing. Here are a few of them:
The gift of love
A little child comes into a world that is dangerous and in many ways hostile. Its greatest need is for the affection and support of parents who genuinely care.
The gift of encouragement
Child abuse is rampant today and millions are seeking to recover from its terrible psychological fallout. I heard of one little child who thought her name was ‘Shut Up’ until she went to school. Encouragement builds confidence in children.
The gift of motivation
I believe that early in life children should have impressed upon them that God has given them abilities to be used to the fullest. Children who are inspired by high goals are more apt to succeed than those who do not.
The gift of peace
It is, of course, unrealistic to expect that homes will be without all conflicts and disturbances. But constant warfare under the domestic roof causes children to be terrified and insecure.
The gift of hope
Hope is the fuel that fires the soul, the light that guides us through the darkest night. Let us remind our children, and other people too, that in God and his Word, the Bible, there is a remedy for every problem.