Fun Family Christmas ‘the best gift’ December 19, 2007Posted by Daniel Downs in children, Christmas, faith, family, giving, God, news, relationships, religion, research.
A December 17 report by BBC News revealed two-thirds of UK citizens looked forward to spending time with family this Christmas. In the same poll conducted for the Children’s Society, 40% of respondents said they had already gone over budget on presents.
Do you remember the song Money can’t buy me love? Giving great Christmas presents can’t buy love or happiness either.
“In the poll, nearly half (48%) thought there was competition between parents to get their children the best presents. There have been reports of parents going to great lengths to secure the latest computer game or sought-after children’s television merchandise. Ironically, 64% of those polled thought Christmas had become too commercial.”
Christmas is about giving. God gave his only begotten Son in order to accomplish a restoration of relationships with alienated humanity. Like getting a new car, computer, or some gadget, giving and getting stuff is pleasurable for a few moments, but then the thrill is gone. No one, however, can forget the moment he or she met God.
The same is true of parents and children spending quality time together, especially at Christmas. The Children’s Society campaign director Tim Lineham said: “Spending time as a family at Christmas is such a big part of childhood. Youngsters will remember activities such as baking together more than expensive presents. Some of the best times can be had for free, from fun family games to practical ideas,” like baking together. There is just nothing more important than parents spending quality time their children at Christmas.
“When you reflect back on the best Christmas experiences of your childhood, I bet they involve fun memories of who you spent time with and the games you played.”
A 2006 survey by the Catholic Children’s Society confirms the most important gift to a child is fun activities in a stable and loving family. The survey revealed most people believe a stable and safe family life in which love, achievement, spiritual development, and respect are the most important factors to a happy and secure childhood. For example, 94% of respondents said a stable family is the key element to children’s security and happiness. The second most important element is being loved according to 92% of those surveyed. Eighty six percent (86%) said children enjoying life and achieving is the third crucial element. While 58% said that religion or spiritual development is a vital factor to children’s happiness, 51% contributing to child happiness and security.
The importance of religious or spiritual activity should not be underestimated. “Prayer is a vital part of life for nearly half of UK adults, with 20 million saying they pray and one in three adults believing that God is watching over them,” according to a November survey published by Christian relief and development agency Tearfund. The survey revealed strong belief in the power of prayer to bring about positive change in the both individual lives and the world. The most important topics of prayer among the 20 million UK adults are family (68%), friends (68%), and thanking God (41%).
In another 2006 survey, Barna researchers discovered that only 34% of kids 8-12 said that prayer is very important to them. Even though over 70% of those kids live in safe and happy homes, the lack of interest in such a basic religious activity suggests parents might be failing to spend the time with their kids to develop their spirituality and faith. According to the Barna Group,
“Parents must take the lead in establishing the centrality of faith experiences and practices for their children. That begins with parents modeling the significance of faith in their lives. It also highlights the importance of families taking the lead in the spiritual development process, rather than expecting or waiting for a church to produce spiritual growth in adolescents”
The God who gave us all a family is always presence to help improve our family relationships. A family ‘grinch’ or ‘scrooge’ is no exception because with God all things are possible. So, while making angel cookies, drinking spiked eggnog, playing a yuletide game, making a big fluffy snowman, reading the Christmas story, or singing Christmas songs, thank God for the gift of a fun family Christmas time together.