Since Angella starting posting her Christmas Countdown, I have decided it's not too early to talk about Christmas. I have been thinking a lot about Christmas this year as we're going to be doing it a bit differently. For the first time there will be lots of family around. Usually it's just us and maybe our immediate families if that can be arranged. But this year we'll be near my Grandparents and our Aunts and Uncles and all that jazz. We are also involved in a Church family this year, which means the usual Church Christmas stuff but also get togethers with the people we've grown close to.
Another difference is that we've decided to completely skip the gift part. Usually we scrape some money together, totally stressing the whole time, and stuff each other's stockings. Now last year we had Belle and the temptation to get your kids the "perfect" gift was way too much and in an effort to find the "perfect" gift we spent too much. I can hardly imagine what it would be like trying to find two "perfect" gifts. There are so many people who have poured so much love on us and showered the girls with so many gifts that there is also the temptation to give back to everyone and their dog. So we decided to just skip it. Now if you were thinking of giving me a gift, I can honestly say that the greatest gift would be some time with us doing something other than watching tv or just hanging in the living room, (something to take pictures of), or if you live far away the best gift in the world is an updated family picture to put on our wall! And I will definitely be returning those gifts.
There are a lot of differences in who me and Nick are too this year I think. We're growing and re-setting our priorities and time has actually become a commodity at our house. So Christmas will be quite different. I like the differences. I like that the affect it's having on me is focusing on Christ and my little family and the parts of Christmas I want to be remembered and the traditions that are truly important.
Which leads me to the actual point of my post today. (Man am I getting long winded or what!). I was part of a conversation in September about Christmas that still has me thinking.
One of the ladies said that they leave Santa out of Christmas at their house. Now the crowd was all Christian ladies and this was the first time I met this gal. I didn't know if I was setting up for a lecture on materialism or what, but I was ready to listen. She explained that they decided to skip all the "fakes" of the holidays. Like Santa and the Easter Bunny and even the Tooth Fairy. And she had a very compelling reason for doing so.
Consider for a moment about Santa, The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. We tell our kids about them and create traditions around them, but they aren't real. Inevitably at some point our children will come to the realization that these characters don't exist, they're just enjoyable folklore.
Then consider that at the same time you're telling your children about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy you are also telling them about Jesus. Jesus in person they will never see. Inevitably at some point in their lives someone will tell them Jesus isn't real.
If you let them let go of their belief in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, how can you expect them to hold onto their belief of Jesus? Easy enough to shrug off. I mean Jesus isn't a silly character that brings us treats on a particular occasion. But you have to conceive that it's not that big a jump either.
I do know that I plan on going to the Santa Claus parade on Sunday and when my kids are old enough I'll have them write letters to him, and I will continue to go through the hassle that is getting pictures with Santa in the local mall. I will wait for my kids to come to the tearful conclusion that he doesn't exist and then challenge them to embrace instead the ideal of what Santa represents.
And I am challenged to make sure that Santa isn't bigger than Christ during our Christmas celebration and that while I talk about Santa for a season I never stop talking about Christ. I'll do my best to make Santa an acquaintance and Jesus a friend. But, I'm not exactly sure what that looks like in action, specifically during the Christmas season.
How do you practically make Jesus the reason for your holiday season?