I had the opportunity to hear about a fun, family-focused way of giving gifts to our children this year. My friend Jenn shared a link with me on facebook and after reading it, my husband and I were confident that this was the approach on gift-giving that we were going to take with our family this year, and now I want to share it with all of you.
From previous blogs you have likely understood that I am not really into the whole materialistic idea that often accompanies Christmas is our Western world. The greed and hoarding that comes with this season is NOT something that I want to impart to my children. In fact, I want the opposite to be true; I want us to realize that giving is the greatest joy of this season and that God gave His son to us and commands us to give to others with the same spirit of generosity!
I received the following ideas from www.kyria.com and would encourage you to check out the website if you are interested as they have more detail on the site. I have shortened it down and explained it below.
The three wisemen brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each of these gifts had significance and each had a specific meaning to the life of Christ. In the same way, we as a family will be giving gifts of “gold”, “frankincense” and “myrrh” to one another this Christmas.
1. Gold– in the times when Jesus was born gold was even more valuable than it is today. It was a gift that was given to a king or someone of kingly authority. Jesus received these gifts from the wise men, because He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. The “gold” present given should be something of great importance to suggest how valuable your child is to your family. Gold gifts often end up being our most expensive/valuable presents. For example, a gold gift might be the bicycle a child has been dreaming about, a doll house, an ipod, or a piece of jewelry that seems appropriate. I am going to wrap our gold gifts in gold wrapping paper.
2. Frankincense – another gift that was given to Jesus was the gift of frankincense. Frankincense is known for its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder people in ancient times begged for it. It was probably one of the ancient world’s first “cure-all” medicines, healing everything from infections to headaches. It was a sacred substance. God commanded the Israelites to place frankincense in front of the Tent of Meeting to scent the place where he had promised to meet with them. Years after that temple was destroyed, God sent his own Son, Jesus, to be a symbolic “Tent of Meeting” for all people. The wise men brought frankincense as a gift for Mary’s baby. Jesus had become our Emmanuel: God with us. Your child’s “frankincense” gift should correspond with the way he “meets” with God. It should be somewhat of a spiritually challenging gift. For example, a new study Bible, teaching series, a devotional book, a journal, or worship CD. I got our children a BOZ the Bear DVD and a Hillsond worship DVD. I am going to wrap the frankincense presents with bright white shiny paper with white bows to represent the sacred white incense that Jesus received.
3. Myrrh – rather than being white, myrrh is a dark, earthy color and has a rich aroma. In ancient times myrrh was used for anointing oils, perfumes, and embalming liquids. Today you can still find myrrh added to some soaps, oils, and lotions. Interestingly enough, the wisemen gave the gift of myrrh to Jesus, it might have seemed strange that they gave embalming liquid as a baby gift but at the time they did not know that He would die on the cross for our sins and rise 3 days later!!! How amazing! As a family we are going to remember the amazing sacrifice that Christ made for us. “Myrrh” gifts for our chidlren are presents that “anoint” their bodies. For example, you might give scented bath soaps, perfume or cologne, lotion, or shampoo. For younger children, choose colorful bath bubbles or playful tub soaps. To stretch your options a little farther, consider buying combs, hair products, comfy towels, or even make-up if it’s age appropriate. The wrapping for this gift can be with earth-toned paper to represent myrrh’s rich dark color. I am going to use a blue wrapping paper simply because that is what I have.
Rememeber simplicity is what it is all about. Don’t feel the need to go out and buy all sorts of colourful papers, that is NOT the point, you can use what you have to keep it simple and beautiful at the same time. I am hoping one year once my kids get a little older to make our own wrapping paper to save on the costs. I also wanted to one year cut all of our leftover paper into smaller pieces and connect them to make collage paper for our gifts:)
We have experienced Christmases in the past where the kids are just SO overwhelmed with so many presents that they don’t really know what to do or who to thank for what. It is chaotic and I feel like they are not even able to appreciate the gifts they have recieved. Hopefully this year will be different and they will be surprised and thankful for their 3 gifts also realizing their importance and significance in their lives.
May you and your family experience the JOY of giving this Christmas!