There are many blessings of being a parent, and one of the greatest is that we learn so much from our children. For those of you that don’t know us, my wife Cathie and I have the honor of being the proud parents of three, now adult, children and one precious granddaughter. Although our children are grown, we learn as much from them now as we ever have. Our most recent revelation is brought to us from our eldest daughter, Jessica, now 33. She recently wrote us the following:
“Dear sweet family, I have been thinking about the Christmas season and how I am looking forward to seeing all of you. I am wonderfully blessed to have such loving people in my family, and lately I have felt overwhelmed by the goodness in my life, especially as it is contrasted by the violence and absolute madness effecting many, many people around the world. It is in this spirit of humbled gratitude that I propose a different sort of Christmas this year.
I love each of you deeply and it is this love and appreciation that makes us want to give each other gifts. However, I personally am feeling motivated in a different direction. I have enough things but what I lack is experiences with my family. We are all so busy and it is difficult to coordinate more than a meal here and there. What if we spend our gift dollars on outings and experiences? Maybe each family member has a date with another family member. One each month until you have enjoyed the company of each person. Or we could do one big thing as a family, like a hut trip and hot springs. I’m thinking dates that require some planning and effort, the kind that create memories!”
While we can look back on many Christmases filled with the love of family, there is truth to her claim that we all have enough and that we need to shift our focus on deepening our relationships and showing our love through spending our dearest commodity, our time, with one another. Once again one of our children is pointing out the folly of our ways and guiding us on a better path. Now that the presents are bought, it might be difficult to make this transition this year, but the Hill family will be changing our Christmas tradition to build our relationships instead of just buying more things. Somehow, I think Christ would approve of this new tradition.
Steve Hill, elder and proud parent