Tonight we began a family tradition that I hope will last forever (in some for or another) - packing shoeboxes full of gifts for needy children that will be sent via Operation Christmas Child. We've actually done this for the last few years, but this year McGee was old enough to understand it better and he participated in deciding who we would be sending gifts to and then helped in the shopping also.
With all the talk I've been hearing lately from him about his Christmas presents, Christmas list and what Santa will bring, it was nice to teach and see the joy that he received from giving gifts. I've always loved giving gifts and only wish I had the money to buy the perfect present for all of the lovely people in my life. Don't get me wrong, I love receiving gifts too, but I definetely find more joy in giving than receiving and I hope to impart some of that to our children. As a 3 1/2 yr. old McGee sometimes thinks he needs and should have everything he desires and I'm so glad we have this month of November to work on teaching him about being grateful for what he does have and thankful for all God has blessed us with. During many trips to Target or Wal-Mart recently I've been hearing a lot of, "But I don't have that, " or, "But I need that, " and I quickly answer him with a gentle reminder of all he does have and how thankful we should be to the Lord for his provision. Today I'm so thankful that we have the opportunity and ability to provide these shoeboxes filled with small items that hopefully will bless a child somewhere that looks upon it as a treasure. It really puts into perspective the overabundance of greediness and commercialism that has become Christmas (don't get me started on all the Christmas music currently playing in stores and the fact you can barely find a turkey or Thanksgiving decor anywhere).
Being a parent is a balancing act most of the time and the holiday season definitely is challenging me on how to balance the true meaning of the season with all the world is throwing at us as "needs" and "wants" when really all we need is Jesus. I'm thankful for my Lord and His continued grace He extends to me and I'm grateful for my family and friends who make this life so sweet! May you be encouraged as you walk this tightrope of the Christmas season!