I spoke today at our Mother’s Club.  The theme for December is giving.  I spent time pondering what we were giving our children this year and what we weren’t.  Last week I spent all day Wednesday shopping, and when I returned home I was stressed and exhausted.  Dinner was not ready, my to do list was not done, and dirty laundry abounded.  I was short tempered and without margin or energy for the kids or Joel.  I wanted to yell, “Back off, I spent the entire day shopping to give YOU presents!”  I didn’t, thankfully, but my attitude probably conveyed as much.  What do I really want to give my kids?

It’s advent and we have the advent wreath that we go through at home.  The prophets candle of hope, the Bethlehem candle of faith of Mary and Joseph, the angel candle of peace, the shepherd candle of joy and Christ candle of love.  These are reminders of God’s good gifts to us.

For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16) I love that. God is a giver, he delights in giving good gifts to his children.  I want to reflect that this Christmas, but how do I give good gifts?   Let’s start with the candle of hope (Romans 15:13) and remind our children of the hope we have in Jesus, no matter how bleak things look today – we have HOPE!  That hope is grounded by our faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22-23).  Jesus loves and saves us daily.  What JOY that brings us (Psalm 119:111).  Think of the true joy we feel when we are able to give and receive love in grace. (Hallmark has capitalized on these precious moments of sharing love). What a gift that is!  But I am most challenged by the gift of peace that I must choose to give my family.  That old saying, “If momma ain’t happy, no one is,” goes both ways. I want to be God focused and kind so that my family doesn’t hear me yell, “Back off, I spent the entire day shopping to give YOU presents!”   And finally, the center candle of love.  How am I showing my kids love during these busy days?  Playing games with them, reading with them, allowing them to bake with me, taking time for hugs, rocking together as we stare at Christmas lights on the tree, having hot cocoa ready after time in the snow.   Love.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son…” Give your kids and (and everyone else!) the best gift of all, give them Jesus everyday.