10 Commandments for Christmas (Part Three)

bell-ringingHow can we apply the 5th and 6th Commandments to our busy American Christmas season? Let’s see.

Commandment 5: Honor your mother and father

In a culture that often dishonors parents, how can we teach honor to our children, and how does it apply to Christmas? I had to think long and hard about how I could especially honor my parents at Christmas. For me, I had to make their gift choices an extra special priority.

For others, I could speed my shopping cart through the holiday gift aisle and check them off my list pretty quickly and effortlessly. But for my parents, I decided to take the time and effort to really ponder what would bless them, what would be meaningful to them. I even prayed about it.

For many years, especially when the children were small, a handmade photo album, a personal poem, or framed children’s drawings were the perfect gifts. Last year, I collected digital photos from my siblings and downloaded nearly 700 of them on a digital photo frame. Whatever the present might be, it’s important to honor your parents with a special gift, and teach your children that their grandparents—as well as you, their parents—should be honored in a special way.

Commandment 6: Don’t murder (i.e. respect life)

This commandment was puzzling. How does “don’t murder” fit into the holiday season? Of course we won’t murder, but how can we respect life and teach our children to apply this commandment at Christmas?

Showing that we care for “the least of these” is a practical way to respect life and fulfill this commandment. Whether providing groceries for a family in need, serving in a soup kitchen, handing a PB&J to a homeless person, or giving a gift through Operation Christmas Child or the like, there are lots of ways to show respect for other people’s lives. My husband and I serve as bell ringers for the Salvation Army every year, and watching parents coach their children to drop change into the kettle is one of the joys of our holiday season.


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