Parenting Q & A
by Mary Allen

A Potpourri of Essays about the Family, the Home, and Parenting

“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” John 17:18




Giving the Gift of Service

December, 2010 - January, 2011

Q: This time of year I always struggle with the selfishness displayed by my children. How can we do better at keeping Christ the focus this Christmas?

A:  As a Christian mom, this is definitely a subject close to my heart. Especially as it’s one I’ve bombed out on too many times myself. Thankfully I’ve learned a few things along the way. Getting carried away by the traditions of Christmastime, can pretty much be summed up by King Solomon’s edict that “All is vanity” if the true reason for celebration—Jesus—is not first in our hearts.  The question is: What would Jesus want us to do for Him this Christmas?

Often the answer to reclaiming our children from bad habits is to give them opportunities for change. In this instance, if December activities induce selfishness in our children, we should give them plenty of opportunities to practice selflessness, while at the same time, cutting back on anything that feeds the “monster” within.  

Ways to cultivate the heart of a servant-giver in our children during the holidays:

       Be hospitable. Include your children in party planning and follow-through. Think outside the box as to who you could invite to your home for a Christmas party. The widows in your church? The elderly? Single moms? You could keep this small scale in your home with a few guests, or recruit another family’s help and host it at your church. Have the children provide entertainment!

       Ask your local homeless shelters, soup kitchens or homes for unwed mothers what their needs are this season. Opportunities abound. Just be prepared if their real need is someone to scrub down the greasy kitchen to state inspection standards!

       Visit the nursing homes in your area as it brings such joy to their lives to see the children. And it does something to the children as well. Mine beg to go, knowing how lonely this precious generation is. Sing a few Christmas carols while you are there! Make gingerbread house villages and donate them for the resident’s enjoyment!

       Is there a home for disabled children or adults in your area? Could you organize a Christmas gift drive for them, or a fun day where you take pets to share? Puppies and kittens are always a hit, or maybe you have a horse they could see and pet. Many children have never even seen a real, live horse. Consider the logistics and then brainstorm the possibilities!

As you see, opportunities abound for blessing others, and in so doing, blessing your children with the gift of serving others. Children are capable of seeing needs and ministering to others to meet those needs. Our young people are never too young to catch the vision, and live their life for a higher goal. Once they catch that vision, they will discover true happiness. Selfishness and its sidekick “boredom” need never get their footholds in your family life.

Jesus was born to bring light into this dark world, and to reveal His truth to the deceived. How better to bless Him this Christmas, than by being His messengers of light and truth to the hurting and neglected around us?

Deuteronomy 30:2 promises that if we return to the Lord, and obey His voice according to all that we’re commanded, both us and our children, with all our hearts, and with all our souls then He’ll rescue us from whatever holds us captive, and will have compassion upon us.

May God hear our hearts this Christmas, and may we and our loved ones be fervent in our desire to seek His will, and in so doing, bless others.


Have a blessed Christmas,




Rejoicing in hope... Romans 12:12

by Mary Allen

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Scripture quotations from the KJV.

About the Author:  Mary Allen is a stay-at-home, homeschooling, country-loving mom. She makes her home in the mid-west amidst Border Collies, horses, cows, a horde of chickens, her beloved husband  and their three girls. She writes articles for several online publications, including her own website, Home-Steeped Hope

Published December, 2010

Updated August 8, 2016

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