Gratitude vs. Expectancy

I watched a video this morning that was posted on Facebook.  I don’t typically watch videos. I rarely have time to sit and enjoy them, but the description of this one caught my eye. It said “Great example of how all gifts should be given and received.”  Being as it is near Christmas I decided to spend the 2 minutes to give it a watch through…and I’m glad I did.

The video was of a young boy, perhaps on his birthday.  The family is obviously struggling for money. Most likely working multiple jobs to make ends meet, like so many people.  The first gift the boy opens is a cutting board.  Did he react in frustration, anger, disgust?  No.  This boy got up and gave his mother a hug, thanking her for the gift.  Then told her that he was excited to use it.

The boy hardly looked excited but he was gracious about the gift, knowing it was the best his parents could afford.  If that were not touching enough, the boy reaches under the table and removes a second box. Slowly unwrapping the present, you can seen an even balance of excitement and preparedness for another gift similar to the cutting board.

When the box lid is opened the boy falls still.  His face goes blank. His eyes wide with wonder.  There, inside the box, sits a tablet.  He doesn’t react for nearly a full minute, too stunned by the gift.  Then, he does the most priceless thing. He cries in gratitude and rushes to give his parents a hug.

How many children do you know would react the way this boy did?  At Christmas in your home, do your children tear through their packages, ignoring the “side” items in search of that one big gift they just know Santa has granted them?  Are you left feeling like the “side” gifts are nothing more than a waste of money?

In America, and many other places in the world, we have been richly blessed.  Homes. Cars. Food in abundance.  And yet, when I travel to other countries, third world, poverty stricken places, I see a contentment in them that I rarely see in our children.

My husband watched a YouTube video just the other day depicting a troubled family at Thanksgiving.  The son was rude, purposefully disrupting the prayer with his snide comments about how he was only thankful for his video games.  When the father made the comment that the son had ruined Thanksgiving with his attitude the son turned over the dinner table, smashing all of the food to the floor.

Is this what we allowed ourselves to become?  I for one would far rather be like the boy in the video. Grateful instead of expectant.

This Christmas, I think it would be nice to instill the desire to help other before ourselves.  To remind us of what Christmas is really all about. Love. Peace. Sacrifice. Sharing. Caring. Healing. Hope

And maybe, just maybe, our children will be impacted.

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