4 Things Better Than Gifts at Christmas

My grandparents served together in the music ministry at their church for over 50 years. My grandmother sang and my grandfather played the piano. Our entire family attended services there, and I ended up with a key role as a child. I became an acolyte, a person tasked with processing up the main aisle in a robe to ceremoniously kick off the Sunday gatherings by lighting a few candles. My favorite time of year to do this was December, when we not only lit the regular white candles on the altar but the colorful ones on the Advent wreath as well.

After the Christmas Eve service, we always went back to my grandparents’ house and opened gifts. The tradition was special, but I enjoyed more about the night than just unwrapping things. I felt a kind of warmth and joy that didn’t come from a store. It came from being together and having fun with loved ones. Your kids may still be learning the true meaning of Christmas. Let them enjoy the presents, but here are 4 things better than gifts at Christmas.

1. Hope

You definitely can’t find this on Amazon. We all need it and, unlike most things at Christmas, it’s free. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen. Thanks to those Sundays with my grandparents, I find hope outside of myself. I love Psalm 42:5, which tells us to “put your hope in God” when you are feeling low. If you’re struggling to find hope this holiday season, sit and pray. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Perhaps more than any other time of year, let’s slow down long enough to consider how God loved us enough to send his son to earth. Let Christmas be more than a season of hope but a reminder of how loved we are by God and how special his plans for us must be.

2. Peace

Being constantly on the go, chasing deadlines, and paying bills isn’t really a great recipe for finding peace. Stress can be a peace killer. A lot of people think they’ll find peace by achieving career goals, financial security, or improving their health. That may work for some, but it’s impossible to find true peace when we go looking in the wrong places. Where do you find peace in your life? I can’t make it happen on my own. I’ve tried. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace by the prophet Isaiah, so I trust him for my peace. It takes the pressure off me to make everything in life fall in line perfectly.
Joy is a feeling that comes from within and is circumstance-proof.

3. Joy

I remember being so happy as a kid when I got the gift I wanted. I would tear open the package and play for hours with my shiny, new toys. But when that moment passed, I was back to wondering what would make me happy next. That’s human nature. Happiness is an outward expression of the things that please us. Joy is a feeling that comes from within and is circumstance-proof. It’s something we choose no matter how the world looks around us. Joy and peace are often connected. When you have one, it’s easier to find the other.

4. Love

We give gifts at Christmas to people we love. God did that on the first Christmas by gifting the world with his son, Jesus. He’s the reason we have a holiday at all. It’s an annual celebration, more than anything, about love. God loved you so much that he sent his son for you at Christmas, a child who would grow up and die for the forgiveness of sins. There is no more loving gesture than that. Even if you don’t feel loved today, know that God loves you deeply. He demonstrated it over 2,000 years ago at the first Christmas and does it again today. Unwrapping gifts from friends and family is nice, but nothing beats the true meaning of Christmas, what God has given us in Jesus.

How about reading your child a Christmas story? Check out 10 Great Christmas Stories for Kids at

Sound off: Do you need more hope, peace, joy, or love this Christmas?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What gifts are the most fun to give at Christmas?”