No, that is not how many gifts we got our kids for Christmas. As a matter of fact, when we wrapped everything up last night, it all just about fits into one Cracker Barrel bag (except the stocking things). This Christmas, we have intentionally taken our family's focus off the material gifts and on Jesus.
We started Dec 1st going through a nightly devotional called the Jesse Tree with our family and I am happy to say that we are right on track to finish on Christmas. We missed a day here or there but caught up the next day and are on the 23rd today (even kept it up when my parents were here for a week!). That is big for us - we normally have good ideas but don't finish them. This has been a great look from creation to Jesus and nice to come together each night for this time.
A while back, there was a free app download called 1000 Gifts. I thought it looked cool so downloaded it but just glanced at it and forgot it. Earlier this month, our CC Mom's had a party and shared some of our favorite things. One sweet friend shared the book 1000 Gifts and it triggered the memory of the forgotten app. I came home and started looking at it again and fell in love with the idea of looking for God's gifts to us every day. I still haven't read the book but took the little bit I know about it and adapted it for our family. Today, I gave the kids and myself new journals. I didn't get one for Big Daddy, but he seemed interested when I told him about it so I hope he will pick one up for himself and joins us (*hint,hint*).
I challenged each of us to find 1000 gifts from God during the next year and write them in our journals every day. God gives us gifts every day but sometimes we don't even notice them. When people give you a gift at Christmas, do you accept it? Do you thank them? Do you leave it wrapped up and ignore it, stepping over it all day but never taking time to open it? I want the kids (and myself) to learn to see these gifts God gives us all day long and thank Him for those gifts. Terrific T came in this morning and was beaming because he had had such a great dream last night. I told him that dream was a gift from God and he wrote about it in his journal.
My goal is for each of us to look for God's gifts every single day, recognize they are from Him, and thank him for them. When the Lego set or Fur Real puppy they received as gifts are long forgotten, the gift of noticing God's gifts will still be there. To help achieve this....we have promised to give each of the kids $50 as a gift next Christmas if they have 1000 gifts in their journal from the year. Hey, I'm not above bribing them to get a habit like this started. I pray that next Christmas, they ask for not only their $50, but also a new journal to do this again next year.
If you think of us, please pray we stick with this. I'm excited for next Christmas. Who needs a bunch of gifts one day a year when you have already received 1000+ that year?!?