Crown Financial: Don’t Overspend This Christmas (Part 2)

Jonathan JenkinsBy Jonathan Jenkins5 Minutes

Jonathan Jenkins:  It’s been said many times that giving increases happiness more than receiving. With our consumer culture, it can seem counter-intuitive, but it’s definitely something you can see in effect today. How would you suggest that people make the most of their giving this holiday season? Do you have any recommendations to make the most of that giving, and do you have any good ways parents can exemplify that for their kids?

Handre de Jongh:  You’ve mentioned the psychological studies that show that giving brings great joy to people. I believe it’s even shown in the Bible in the book of Acts. Luke also quotes Jesus when He says “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” So, seeing the excitement and the amazement on people’s faces when you give them something is priceless. It’s something that money simply cannot buy. If that gift is something meaningful or is an answer to prayer, it can be especially powerful.

Many people miss the joy of giving when they feed greed or just give based on wants. The joy of receiving normally is very short-lived. For instance, when I get my son something like V-Bucks for Christmas, it’s exciting. Oh, he’s so excited. And for a moment, it makes me happy to see the joy on his face, but that excitement fades within a few minutes or even an hour or two. The real excitement is when you see the impact giving has on somebody’s life, and that’s exactly what I would like my kids to see. I want to show that there is a difference between temporal joy versus eternal satisfaction. Temporal satisfaction and excitement may last for a short while. Internal joy and satisfaction can last for eternity. So, I want to teach my kids that giving where there is a real need is the most precious giving.

That is a form of giving much in the same way that God gave us his Son. We had a need to be connected back to God and he knew this. I want to try and teach my kids to look for where will our gifts can make the most impact. It’s especially important during this holiday season when it’s often all about the bells and whistles, the big gifts, and the Christmas trees. We need to find out what gifts make really the biggest impact. For instance, Samaritan’s Purse has those shoeboxes for children around the world that are packed full of essentials like toothbrushes and things that we take for granted. Often, my kids don’t even realize that just something like toothpaste is really a blessing which they take for granted as something that is just supposed to be there. For other people, it isn’t always there. While I am teaching that to my kids, I’m teaching that to myself and my wife as well. By participating, we are getting involved in a family exercise where we can give towards a real need and find where the real joy lies.

Excitement is an emotion. Joy is not just an emotion; it’s a state of being. So, I try to find a project that can help people in need and bring them joy. Teaching your family how to meet real needs and to seek ways to accomplish that becomes a permanent state of being that will last throughout the year. It’s not just a one-time thing. We also need to teach our children that, even with all the distractions around us, Christmas is first and foremost about celebrating Christ. So, if our gifts to others, whether given personally, through an organization or church, or wherever you want to give, reflect Christ in meeting a need, it will bring eternal joy.

Read Part 1 of this interview.