A Gift for Jesus

Written by Sherry Schumann, COO, Christian Grandparenting Network

You and I didn’t grow up with Amazon (or Amazon Prime for those of us who want free shipping). Nor did we have access to computers, Google, or the Internet, which offer us countless shopping experiences without leaving the comfort of our homes. This apparent lack didn’t stop us from dreaming about a Christmas wish list. We had everything we needed at our fingertips; we had the Sears and Roebuck catalog.

I remember sitting on our front porch step, flipping the pages of my mom’s catalog and listing the things I wanted for Christmas on a piece of lined paper. While my handwriting was stronger than most first-graders, printing was still a tedious task. I must have sat on the porch for two hours or more, because by the end of the session, I had listed more than one-hundred items.

If commercialism and materialism encroached on Christmas in the sixties, how much worse is it today? Our adult children face the difficult task of raising selfless children in a culture that continually reinforces the “I want” syndrome. We as grandparents have the responsibility and privilege of helping our children keep Christ as the main focus of Christmas for their families.

What is a grandparent to do?

If you are open to starting a new family tradition, I have a simple idea to share with you. My husband and I borrowed this idea from the author of Pass the Legacy, Cathy Jacobs, five years ago.

To me, the tree was beautifully adorned that year. Clipped to its branches were three envelopes, one for each of our three sons and their families. As everyone gathered around the tree, anxious to dig into the presents piled beneath it, my husband announced that we were starting a new family tradition called a “Gift for Jesus” or simply the “Jesus Gift.”

I unclipped the envelopes and passed them to our sons. Each envelope contained a Christmas card with a check inside. Written on the card were the following words:

Christmas 2016

Dear ____________,

The greatest Gift we’ve ever received (or will ever receive) wasn’t dropped off in a mad dash by the Fed-Ex man but through the birth pains of a young virgin laboring in a stable. It wasn’t wrapped in red-n-green printed foil but in dirty rags and swaddling clothes. This Gift wasn’t purchased as an extension of the giver but as the Giver Himself.

In honor of our Lord’s birth, we want to establish a new tradition. Each Christmas, we will give you a monetary gift to share with a charity, institution, or person-in-need of your family’s choosing. We pray that this tradition blesses you and its recipient.

Love,

Mom and Dad

After everyone had a chance to read their card, I explained that the Jesus Gift would be the first gift we opened each year, even before our traditional and much-loved stockings. I further explained there was one envelope per family, instead of individual envelopes, because we wanted to encourage family discussion about those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Finally, I guaranteed our sons and their families that their recipient selection was a personal one. We didn’t expect them to tell us who they chose.

I am thrilled to say that the Jesus gift continues to be unclipped from the Christmas tree and distributed as the first gift we open as a family on Christmas.

If this idea blesses you, or if you have another tradition to share, please let me know by commenting on this post. I look forward to hearing from you. God bless you and your beautiful families this Christmas and in the coming New Year. May we all remember that Christ is the Greatest Gift of all!

9 thoughts on “A Gift for Jesus”

  1. CommentThanyou for a wonderful Idea. Even if charity expenditures may be given through the year, also here i Norway, particularily the GREAT Television Autumn Collection rally with 20 mill. USD are given in a smallcountry like ours, presenting the mentioned idea on our grandparents network, BESTEFORELDRENETT may hopefully have an impact on grandparents…and children.
    May all your efforts in true Christmas offering and gifts be blessed by GOD!

    1. Hi We are using the themedF “Giovingd” a referring how God has given us His son and life plus all we need in Jesus. We have given gifts to two organizations of kingdom outreach in honor of each person in our family. We include a pix of what that was in the envelope along with a written ‘blessing’ For each.

  2. I like this. I did this below new this year & all 3 children (& families) said “we’re in”
    Dear Family,
    Dad and I are so blessed by each of you and by the gift you, and your precious children, are to us. We are so grateful to God for how He has blessed us, and continues to bless us. We want to “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart” and share back some of those blessings in ways that are tangible to our grandkids.
    Each year World Renew puts out a gift catalog. We have one in the mail that I will bring to San Diego but there is also a link below. I think the Meyers and the Diaz family already got this catalog, as they give to World Renew on a more regular basis.
    This Christmas we would like to give a $50 seed money gift to each family–and we especially mean this for the kids to be very involved in this JOY of giving. If you match the $50 however you choose to do that– you gift or kids earn it, whatever– then we will match that $100 again. Then with that $200 we want your kids to think about what they want to buy out of the catalog for some people who need a gift far more than we do. But the gift will be that at Christmas Dad and I get to find out what you decided to purchase with the card they will send us.
    Let us know if you accept this challenge . . . and we will let the fun of choosing happen.

  3. Thank you for this amazing suggestion, I have been praying about what I could do this year and this is an answer to prayers. I will do it and feel it’s going to be a great new tradition…God bless!

  4. As always, Dear Friend, your thoughts are timely and helpful. We had our monthly G@P gathering last Sunday, and we talked about Christmas traditions that enhance our grandchildren’s understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. Some families read the Christmas story from one of the gospel accounts. Some do this and assign parts to all family members. I will share your thoughts with our Grandparents at prayer that they might add this to their prayerful efforts to establish traditions of blessing at Christmas.
    In His Grip,
    John

    1. Legacy Coalition Blog Team

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  5. sherrillblazer@gmail.com

    Sherry Schumann’s idea has changed my mind about how I have done something similar but it failed! I had gone to much trouble and a bit of creativity to give a gift to a “fitting” charity in honor of each of my children and grandchildren. It seemed to go unappreciated or even noticed! This year, I will give the money to EACH of them, as Sherry suggested, and ask them to donate and explain why they chose that charity! It dawned on me that this would cause them to do research, pray, search their hearts and prayerfully, set a pattern for life! Thank you Sherry, and others who shared!

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