During the Christmas season it’s easy to get caught up making sure we get just the right gifts for our children. But what our children want more than presents is our PRESENCE. Here are three ways to give presence to your children.
- Give your children your time. Set aside technology, computers, phones, making the house just right, and look into their precious eyes. Be with them. Give them your eyes, ears, and your hands. Grandparents are great at this, and kids notice. They love time with grandparents because mostly Grandma and Grandpa give them TIME. Undistracted time where they aren’t hurrying to the next thing. Jesus spent time with people. He was not hurrying to get through the conversation with the woman at the well so he could get on to Galilee. He spoke with her, looked at her, listened to her, and loved her. He did this with all people. Let us follow his example in how we love our children. Give them your physical presence and your mental presence. This is making deposits into their love tank showing them they are important to you. They notice when you don’t.
- Create traditions. Traditions build memories, create stability, and make deposits into your family’s love tank. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Play Family Olympics and create fun ways to play together as a family, such as carrying something on a spoon across the room, pillow sack race, push a candy cane across the floor with your nose. Even the youngest can play and some of the big kids can probably come up with better ideas than the parents! Go caroling to a friend’s house, or if that’s out of your comfort zone my husband and I will have the children go to their rooms and we will go caroling to their bedroom doors. So silly, but they absolutely love it! And then of course they want to do the same. I know there are way better ideas out there, so just pick one and do it together as a family. I’m sure your kids will remember and want to do it again next year.
- Slow down. Christmas parties, ornament exchanges, plays-there is so much that tries to grab at our time during the holidays. Learning to say no will go a long way in helping us to slow down. Instead of trying to bustle around doing extra, slow down and whatever you’re doing around the house, include your children. They just want to be with you. So if you’re cleaning, give them a job to do alongside of you. If you’re purging the house of excess toys to make room for Christmas presents, give them a bag and ask them to help fill it up with things they’d like to give away. If you’re baking, let them help. Just take time to enjoy them in the every day. Be WITH them. Jesus worked alongside of his disciples. He brought them along as he taught and served. He did life with them. Let us do life with our children…AND enjoy it. As you set out to slow down, make every effort to be with Jesus. Make him a priority in your life. He is worthy of all our praise and has already ordained our days for us, so let us make the most of every opportunity and love him more than life. When you are putting him first and making time for him every day it will get your thoughts and focus where they need to be, and as God fills you up, you will in turn have more to give to your children.
The Lord is our Great Shepherd and we are to shepherd our little ones and care for the flock he has given us, “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” 1 Peter 5:2-3