“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV).
Using plain paper and a pencil, my eight-year-old granddaughter created a birthday card I will always treasure. It wasn’t just the simplicity of the card but the words that touched my heart. On the front, Cheyenne had drawn an angel. At the top were the following words: “Happy Birthday, Nana. We believe in God.” At the bottom, she had written, “I love you.”
Her artistic endeavors spilled over inside, where two more illustrations—one of a heart sporting wings and one of yours truly—graced the pages. What captured my heart, however, were the words, “I love you to the moon and back,” and “You have a giant heart as big as this.”
How could a grandmother not love a card fashioned from a child’s imagination as well as her heart? It’s the best gift I could ever receive.
Who doesn’t enjoy giving and receiving presents? However, there is a difference between presents and gifts. Lawyer James E. Faust explains the difference. “The true gifts may be part of ourselves—giving of the riches of the heart and mind—and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store. Of course, among the greatest of gifts is the gift of love. Love seeks to give rather than to get. Charity towards and compassion for others is a way to overcome too much self-love.”
Self-love has led consumers to camp out days before Black Friday at superstores, hoping to be first in line to purchase big screen TVs. Self-love has led to shoppers fighting over bargains and spending more money than they can afford. Whatever you call it, it’s not about Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of our Savior over 2,000 years ago.
How can we return the focus to what really matters? While commercialization has blinded many to the real meaning of Christmas, as parents and grandparents, we have the power to change it.
A recently-released children’s book, “The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas,” was written by Jill Hardie. Because Hardie saw how easy it is for families to be ensnared in the commercial blitz and forget the deeper reason for Christmas, she found a special way to show her children the joy of giving to others and that giving, itself, is a gift. In this heartwarming, powerful book, families can rediscover the true joy of “giving unto others.”
“Each year we have continued the tradition (of the Sparkle Box) and have realized that it’s not only a gift to Jesus and to those in need, but a powerful way to center Christmas,” says Hardie.
In a “me-first” society, it’s up to us to make the change. “The Sparkle Box” is more than a book. When people band together to spread the news, in the end, it transforms the giver and the receiver—all in Jesus’ name.Carol’s new book, “by FAITH alone,” is now available at amazon.com.