If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11
This Christmas the average family will give 30 gifts to each other and their friends, but most of those gifts will have been tossed aside in only a few days and very few will still be cherished this time next year.
As a parent, there are five gifts which I would want to give my children—life and character-building gifts. These five are intangible gifts that can’t be purchased online or in a store. Let's start with the smallest gift, which has the largest potential: the gift of FAITH. Remember the words of Jesus, "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20).
First, they need faith in God which comes through actually knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. Secondly, they need faith in themselves, and then faith in other people. In a real sense I can’t give my children the gift of faith‑‑only God can do that‑‑but I can cultivate the environment in which faith is born. I can teach that self‑confidence is not sin. I can teach that though others disappoint them and fail them, we nonetheless can’t stop trusting each other. I can plant the seed of God's Word which will allow them to reach out in faith and let Jesus enter their lives as Leader.
The second gift I would like to give them follows faith closely‑‑it is the gift of HOPE. A human being can live for 40 days without food and three days without water. He can live approximately eight minutes without air, but he cannot live at all without hope. This gift is in rare supply, which is one of the reasons that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 16 to 24. There is only one way I can give my children the gift of hope—that is by helping them to realize that when we have faith in God, we have Someone to turn to with our worries for the future because He holds it. The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament says, "Faith is an anchor of the soul which is sure and steadfast" (Hebrews 6:19), and Paul talks about God as the "God of all hope" (2 Corinthians 1).
Gift number three is the gift of SINCERITY. Hypocrisy and superficiality, perhaps more than anything else, turn so many away from finding a real relationship with Jesus. I want my children to be real and genuine, to be themselves and nothing more. Of course, the best way that I can make sure they receive this gift is to model it myself in my own relationships.
Gift number four creates largeness of heart‑‑it is the gift of GENEROSITY. Nothing is smaller in the world than a selfish person who lives by grabbing instead of giving. Christmas means giving. God so loved that He gave His Son. It was the grace of God's generosity that brought Jesus to Bethlehem; and as God has given to us, we must give ourselves to others. Yes, I want my children to receive the gift of generosity, to lift their cups towards heaven to receive from God.
Gift number five‑‑the largest of these five gifts in terms of size—is the gift of LOVE. For them to receive the gift of love, I must give the gift of myself. You give your children the gift of LOVE by giving them yourself. This gift may be the hardest of all to give because it requires truly purposeful effort.
It takes thought and intent—but the best gifts you can give your kids are free.
Resource Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-10