They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:10 (NIV)


As I was getting dressed this morning, I heard an interview on Good Morning America about how to tell children that Santa was not going to be bringing as many presents this year. In case you missed it, the economy has been in a bit of decline. I liked the answer the guest gave because she noted that young children don’t really care about the cost of the item, particularly if it is given with joy.

Years ago, I learned an acronym for JOY – Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. Christmas is the perfect time to teach young ones about real joy. Children are naturally self-centered and one of the greatest challenges and responsibilities of parents is to teach them to think beyond their own needs and to share. You won’t have to sit very long in a room of young children before you hear a mother remind her child “to share.” Years ago, we wanted to teach our children to think beyond their desires and Christmas list, so we decided to adopt a family in need. We spent our time and treasure choosing special gifts for each one and it ended up being a great time for all of us.

This year is the perfect time for families to reassess what is really important and what is with just fluff or tradition. Are all those presents under the tree really excess and greed? I heard the story of one family that only allows three gifts for each child with the thought that if it was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for them. It is something to think about.

In those quiet moments of reflection about this special time of year, let’s not forget that the greatest gift ever given was from a Father to His children…the baby Jesus. Even though it cost Him everything, it didn’t matter because He loved us so much. Our bank balance may give us pause this season, but when we accept that gift of life through His Son, then we, too, will enter Zion with joy and singing.