the Thrill of Hope

…….a weary world rejoices

Have you ever noticed how the world comes alive around Christmas? Strangers we run into at the mall or out at night, everyone is polite, caring, smiling. Christmas brings out the good in us and as moms, we have this extra special opportunity to teach our children not only what is happening within Christmas, but what they can do as well.

Here are five simple lessons you can teach your children about the attitude of Giving at Christmas.

  1. Christmas is about being kind! It’s not about buying gifts to wrap as much as it is about giving the gifts of a smile, saying hello or Merry Christmas to strangers. It’s about our attitude and realizing no matter how old we are, we all have the power to bring joy to another’s day, just by what we say. To connect with others all we have to do is “use our words”.  So say Merry Christmas to the grocery clerk when checking out. Look at and Say Merry Christmas to the person ringing the Salvation Army bell. Say Merry Christmas to all those you come across and let the love of this season shine through you, just by saying a simple phrase.
  2. Christmas is about being together! During the holidays I always tried to bake more because it was something I could do with my children. We made cookies, cakes, breads, candies. It was so fun to do together. It was fun to see the final products all decorated and beautiful. It was fun to have works of art that could be eaten just everywhere in the house.
  3. Christmas is about making your own gifts-you know, using your own two hands! When we baked, cut paper snowflakes or made ornaments, we always made sure to make many to give as gifts. This made great gifts for neighbors, the mailman, teachers and people at work. Many times my girls would give a simple gift of something they made to an elderly neighbor or someone at a facility and feel proud that they made this with their own hands and imaginations. Then when they saw the look of the person they gave the gift to, they would feel proud again. It was easy to reinforce by me telling them, they just gave a gift of love.
  4. Christmas is about singing. I can’t count how many times we would walk the halls of a hospital, rehab facility or retirement center all dressed up singing Christmas Carols. All the elderly or injured would sit up in bed and smile. Those that could, would come out to the common room to hear us singing. The joy it brought to the faces of those who listened to the children singing was amazing. This made my children sit up straighter, sing louder and lovingly be able to walk up and offer those listening a hello or Merry Christmas without being afraid. They got to see the joy that came to the faces of strangers they were singing to and feel that joy themselves.
  5. Christmas is on purpose and for a reason! Through every Christmas play, carol, and story, there was always the purpose of the season to be told. In reading the story of Christmas, my girls knew their life had meaning, they were brought forth and called by God to be on the earth at this time in history. By telling the story, again and again, this grounded them on how “on purpose” God was by bringing Jesus through Mary. This translated into the importance of our lives and the lives of those around us. It also translated into the importance of how we treated one another. After all, it was God who said: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”.

Even though my children are grown and gone (one just returned), I read the Christmas story every year. For by telling the story again and again we are reminded that God created us to be His family, this is why Jesus came. Then we can realize that every life on earth has importance and purpose, and we can live our own lives boldly, on purpose too.

By teaching our children these simple joys we really are living out the simple point of purpose too. We instill in our babies the importance of their actions, attitudes and mindset. We teach them that we all have the power to give a kind word or a word of encouragement. We teach them that everything isn’t always about “us”! We teach them that the Thrill of Hope is living in an attitude of kindness, giving unselfishly, giving and using the gifts you have and that life can be lived on purpose and for a reason. And when we live on purpose we bring rejoicing to a weary world.

This Christmas season I wish you all joy as you live in the midst of The Thrill of Hope!