Q: Our children are already excited about Christmas, but several months ago my husband lost his job, and it’s going to be a very slim Christmas this year. How do we explain this to them? They’ll not only be disappointed, but they’ll be embarrassed when they see what their friends got. What should we do? — C.R.
A: I know this is worrisome to you, but I also believe this could be the best Christmas you and your family have ever had. And this will happen as you and your family focus on the true meaning of Christmas: the coming of Jesus Christ into the world.
Let me begin by telling you two things I hope you won’t do. First, I hope you won’t go out and spend money you don’t really have on a multitude of gifts for your children. In other words, avoid going into debt because you’re afraid of disappointing them. Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
Second, don’t conceal your situation from your children. You don’t say in your letter how old they are, but even a simple explanation will help young children understand why this Christmas will be different. At the same time, think of other ways to make this a memorable Christmas for them — making gifts for each other, baking cookies together to give to others, etc.
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The most important thing you can do, however, is to help them gain a new understanding of the meaning of Christmas. Yes, they naturally think about the gifts they hope to get. But help them focus instead on the greatest gift of all, the gift of God’s own son for our salvation. May Christ become the center of your Christmas, now and always. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.