Teaching children about charity, especially at Christmas



Christmas is a doubly special occasion for me for besides celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, my birthday also falls on the same date. And ever since I had Gummy, Christmas has become an even more meaningful season of thanksgiving and gift-giving for the both of us.

Most people would think that I expect to receive double every December 25. Na-a-ah. My parents raised me all the more to give on my birthday as a way of thanksgiving, because I am the one who is blessed. I also want my daughter to observe the same tradition.

For five years now, Gummy and I have a special gift-giving date every Christmas morning. I’d cook something (or prepare sandwiches back when I still did not know how to light a stove)—maybe soup or spaghetti or bake cookies—to give away to street-dwelling families. I personally prefer going out and around looking for homeless people to share grace with than going to established institutions, many of which are already regularly funded.

From planning to marketing to preparation to packing to distribution, Gummy and I do everything together. Really just the two of us. No helper, no yaya, no driver. I drive and pass the food to her and she hands them to the people herself. By doing this activity together I am able to teach my daughter a number of things.

What is ordinary to us – sandwich, spaghetti, Chicken Joy, cupcakes and cookies – are already a treat to others. Therefore it’s imperative to value also the everyday blessings we receive.

We are blessed to bless others. God blesses us with abundance so that we overflow to others. Our blessings are from God and not from our own efforts. Therefore we must pass it on and never hold on to them. We are simply channels of blessings.

The more we receive, the more we should give. God gives you for you to give in return.

Some of the best things you can give to others is a sweet sincere smile of greeting, your unrushed time and your love (in tangible form like food). There is no need to be grandiose and extravagant. Truly, it is the thought that counts.

You give what you can, even if it’s little. As long as it is from the heart, the Lord will honor your act of kindness.

Everyone you see is your brother and sister. The Lord commands us to treat them the way we want to be treated. Never look on the outside appearance. The way people look should never affect the way you treat them.

You are blessed – to have slippers to protect your feet, a blanket to pull at night when it’s cold, an extra shirt to change into after playing, to have at least two choices of viand every meal, to be drinking juice instead of just water everyday, to have an adequate amount of water to drink, to live in a concrete home without worries of the storm taking away your protection, to be comfortably sitting going to school, to be studying and not working peddling flowers or rags.

Also able to be going to church every Sunday, to be read the Bible to and know the Lord. You are favored by a gracious God therefore you must value these blessings, things, opportunities and privileges and not take them for granted.

“Count your blessings one by one, count your blessings see what God has done” as the song goes.

The essence of charity is twofold—you share what you have to others, and that you acknowledge that indeed you are blessed. Giving to others is a way of giving thanks to The Giver for giving you. Giving to others is a concrete gesture of saying, thank you God.

How do you practice gratitude in your family? How do you teach your children to express thankfulness aside from merely verbalizing it?

Enjoy Christ-mas!


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