Growing up, Christmas morning was the highlight of the year. The anticipation of what Santa might bring made it almost impossible to go to sleep Christmas Eve. Would I receive that present I really wanted and I knew would make me happy, or would I get the equivalency of an ugly sweater?
My focus changed when I become a parent. All of a sudden, I couldn’t wait for Christmas morning because I wanted to see the wonder and excitement on the face of my son. I wanted him to be excited about his presents because we had spent hours shopping for (and usually assembling) his gifts. They had been purchased with him in mind.
So far, the focus had shifted from gifts I was receiving to gifts I was giving.
This year seems to call for a different focus.
We have all had the opportunity to take a step back and rethink our priorities this year. What is important to us? Are we headed in the right direction? And what can we do that will have lasting effects on the lives of our children that would help them face the future with resilience and grit?
So this year, I’m going to challenge you to switch your focus. Instead of focusing on the actual Christmas gifts, take the time to notice natural gifts.
What is a natural gift?
Natural gifts are those parts of our personality and abilities that we are given at birth. We don’t have to wait until a set time or place to discover them because they are always with us and can be unwrapped (discovered) at any time. And unlike Christmas presents, they last for all eternity because that’s how we are created.
Imagine the impact you would make in your child’s life if you could speak words of affirmation to them that were specifically matched with their unique design?
Here are some unique gifts you can begin to notice during this season:
Gusto: What do they do with energy and exuberance? What can they do for hours without noticing the time? And what robs them of their energy and spark?
Interests: What do they want to talk about and become animated as they share? What passions do that have that keep coming back up year after year?
Focus: What do they focus on when no one is noticing? Do they love being around people and interacting, or do they tend to retreat to a quiet corner and focus on working with their hands with physical items?
Talents: When they are finally free to do whatever they want to do, what comes easily? Do they gravitate to completing some physical activity, or do they grab a book and spend their time in their own mind?
As you begin to view your children through the lens of natural gifts, you begin to gain clarity about what they may be designed to do in life. Take time to really watch your child interact this Christmas, and identify what makes them unique. Treasure these gifts in your heart and watch for ways to confirm them in the days to come.
And remember, your children will not be wired exactly like you. I learned this lesson the hard way. I thought that because my son was like me in so many areas, he would become more outgoing as he grew up. I thought he just needed the opportunities to grow into it and gain confidence. But that was simply not the way he was wired.
God wired each person uniquely for a purpose. Instead of wishing your children might be a bit different, rejoice in the unique gifts they bring to your life and the lives of others. These gifts, unlike the ones under the tree, may someday change the world.