We do this rather than having expensive parties and receiving little trinkets, baubles, and toys from people. Any birthday money is put into a savings account, and we have memories of family trips together that last longer than any toys they might receive.
We still have cake and birthday dinners, but toys get broken and thrown away, while family memories of places we have visited tend to last. They have become more articulate and they embrace life fully.
I am not saying they never get any “goodies,” because they do. In fact, the back end of my vehicle is full of “goodies” they no longer want, that they cleared out of their rooms.
These trips can be camping trips, picnics, and we even spent part of their break “camped out” on the bedroom floor in sleeping bags watching movies until late at night.
The relational aspect of our beings has been satisfied in this way. We come away with, “Remember when we ...? Can we do that again?”
They come up with things that we can do together as well. Even a walk on the hike-and-bike trail is transformed into an adventure when they run ahead and back and find bugs and sticks and so on. We take drinks and snacks to enjoy or head to a local spot for some treat afterwards.
We have a Father in heaven who desires a relationship with each and every one of us. In fact, He came in the form of an infant that we might “have life more abundantly.”
“I come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
He did not say we would have more stuff. I know the saying he who dies with the most toys, wins, but that is not what God would have for us. He wants us to “store up (our) treasures in heaven.”
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (John 6:19-21)
He is not asking us to be of “this” faith or “that” congregation, but that we have a relationship with Him and we do that when we come to the Father through Jesus Christ.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus said this, and if we believe the rest of the Bible, we have to believe this as well.