Mom, it seems like people just take Christmas too far.

These were the words of my 10 year old in the car the other day when It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas was playing on the radio. I asked what he meant and he told me that he was frustrated that everyone was so focused on presents and shopping. “A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots is the wish of Barney and Ben…” I tried to explain that it is okay to have fun and enjoy Christmas, as long as your heart is in the right place. I could see he wasn’t convinced. “Take a look at the five and ten, glistening once again, with candy canes and silver lanes aglow…” It is a conflict that I would guess is on the hearts of many this time of year. It is the same question that Charlie Brown asked so many years ago, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

I really think that a lot of kids want Christmas to be about more than getting stuff. They aren’t blind. They hear us tell them that Christmas is about Jesus, but sometimes that idea is hard to put into practice. They are bombarded with commercials and catalogs until they are sick with wantitis. But what if we filled their minds with something else? What would Jesus want us to do to celebrate His birthday? Jesus said in Matthew 22:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 There are so many ways to help kids practice loving their neighbors. Put together a shoebox for Samaritan’s Purse. Volunteer for an organization that serves the needy. Gather toys and clothes to donate to a local charity. Find a less-fortunate family in the area and do something special for them. Every Christmas I look for new ways to help our kids have generous, giving hearts. This year I was so excited when Angie told me about Light ‘Em Up, from Courtney at Lil Light O’ Mine.  The idea is to do one random act of kindness each day until Christmas. If you have an advent calendar that you use already, you can tuck one of these ideas in there for each day (that’s what we did). Or try one of the fun ideas Courtney suggests on her site. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, give this a try. My guys are loving it already!