A Great Christmas Gift

A Great Christmas Gift

What will you give your teenager for Christmas this year?

As parents of three daughters, Denise and I faced that question many times. And when each daughter reached her senior year, we found ourselves looking at funding the next chapter of her story – college. It would be the largest single expense item that we had encountered to date. Our Christmas savings plan would not cover this gift. What do we do? Do we look for the cheapest option, the live-at-home path, the online alternative? Or do we take a deep breath and consider the kind of formation we are purchasing for our child?

As president of a Christian university in the heart of Nashville, I hear the parental concerns. Not long ago I was talking with a dad who told me that he wanted his daughter in a Christian university but he just couldn’t afford the price tag. I asked him if his cell phone had a calculator on it. It did. The math began.

How much is it worth to you that the resident director of your daughter’s dorm is more interested in praying with her than telling her where the best bar is?

He attached a dollar figure and entered it on his cell phone calculator.

How much is it worth that her faith not be demeaned by an arrogant professor who considers it his calling in life to destroy the belief system of young adults? What value would you place on the likelihood that your daughter would meet, date, and marry a Christian and that your grandchildren would have Christian parents?

He added more dollars.

What price tag would you assign to the mentoring voices that will be in your daughter’s educated mind coaching her understanding of ethics, history, entertainment, and literature? How much is it worth that her career advisors see her lifetime work from a Christian perspective?

More dollars added.

And how much money would you be willing to pay to surround your daughter with Christian friends during the years that she is most likely to walk away from her faith?

This good father got very quiet, then looked at me and said, “I cannot afford to send her anywhere but a Christian university.”

At Christmas we offer gifts to loved ones because we have received the ultimate gift in Jesus Christ. Often, when we give something to another, we must sacrifice a little of ourselves: sometimes time, energy, or money. But, of course, our sacrifices pale in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice of the helpless babe, who humbled himself to come into our world just so he could die to save us.

This Christmas, take a few moments to consider what type of gift your kids really need? Is it another electronic gadget, designer apparel, or a mall shopping spree?

Looking back, the greatest gift we gave our three now-adult daughters was a college degree from a Christian university.

What better gift to receive from your parents than an investment in your future?

I can think of nothing more valuable than giving our kids hopes, dreams, and a plan for a lifetime of joy.

What are you getting your kids for Christmas? How will you choose a college for your children?

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