Christmas is just around the corner, which means the topic of purchasing gifts for children has been floating around my conversations. Minimalism has been on trend for the last few years, and many families have adopted the mindset of “less is more” when it comes to gifts.
In Christian circles, this is often based on the philosophy that people don’t want to create “entitled children.” I think what most women mean by this is that they don’t want to raise children who think they deserve everything; they don’t want to raise greedy children.
While nobody wants to nurture greed and selfishness, we should rethink our terminology when we talk about entitlement. In a very real sense, our children are entitled to the whole world and they should know it.
Let me explain what I mean.
In Psalm 21:1, David writes “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Paul quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians 10:26 when he is talking about why it is lawful for him to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Even when the pagans try to give ownership of the meat to false gods, the meat still belongs to God.
Earlier in the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that we are sons and daughters of God: “‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (6:18)
So, we know that all things in the earth belong to God, and we know that we are His sons and daughters. Doesn’t that mean that we inherit whatever belongs to our Father? Psalm 37:9 tells us that the ones who trust in God will inherit the earth, “for evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.”
Paul confirms this inheritance again in 1 Corinthians 3:22: “Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”
In this passage, Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for taking sides between him and Apollos. He encourages them to see themselves as workers for Christ. He tells them not to worry about what the “wise” in this world are saying, but to remember that they belong to Christ and that in Him “all things are yours.” We participate in Christ’s possession of this earth.
Your children are part of this promise. You are raising princes and princesses in the Kingdom of God. They are sons and daughters of God, and they get to inherit the earth and all its fullness! Make sure they know that. Make sure they know that in Christ we are “entitled” to the world.
Of course, the path of inheriting the earth is a path of self-sacrifice and humility and generosity, following after the example we have in Jesus. But He did all these things for the joy and the reward on the other side. As you teach your children not be greedy, make sure you are teaching them to lay down their desires so that they can be raised with Christ. Tell them that when God asks us to wait, to lay down a desire, or to do without something we want, it is only temporary. We have a future with Christ, in the presence of God, where no righteous desire is left unfulfilled, where the whole earth is under His reign.
Whatever you choose to do this Christmas, whether you have gifts popping out of every corner or you choose a simple three-gift method, don’t give to your children in a spirit of stinginess. Every gift you give them is just a taste of what eternity with Christ will be like. Make the gifts taste like that! You are buying gifts for a child who will inherit the earth along with Christ. Make that the focus of your Christmas.
That is the great news about Christmas, isn’t it? That a King was born and that He came to make us sons and daughters, too. Mimic this in any way you can. Don’t let Christmas be anything other than a celebration of a King who rules over this material, tangible, visible world and who invites us to be part of that inheritance with Him.
Lindsey Tollefson is a homemaker in Moscow, Idaho.
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