This week I was an observer of a rather disturbing conversation. At least I was disturbed. The group was discussing Halloween and how much fun the children have trick or treating. Then it went on to Christmas.
One Mom was saying her child of about eight had said he had been thinking that maybe Santa wasn’t real. All children come to that conclusion at some point in their little lives. This particular mom didn’t want him to quit “believing” in Santa because, she said, “If you don’t believe, then what’s left? Just presents.”
Now, I totally get where she is coming from. She’s talking about the secular side of Christmas. The next statement was “Oh, we have traditions we keep.” Which is the point I got excited as I thought she was about to talk about a Christmas Eve candlelight service or reading the story of the birth of Christ from the Bible or setting out the nativity scene or some other true meaning of Christmas activity. “We always make a gingerbread house together.”
Pffffft. Deflated. Where has Christmas gone? Where is the Christ that belongs in Christmas? Christmas is Christ, plain and simple. It always has been even though pagan traditions have crept in over the years. Click on the highlights for some interesting reading.
It was fun when the children were small to have Santa, for someone to ring bells outside the house and watch the kids rush to the window to look for the sleigh, the excitement of Christmas presents that Santa brought. But inevitably the time came when each would ask “Is there really a Santa?” And that was always the appropriate time to explain that there wasn’t; that it was a fun game that everyone played, and now that the child was old enough to be let in on the secret, he/she could help to be Santa as well.
How are children going to learn to give if they are always on the receiving “believing” end? The whole point of Santa is about giving although it has turned into all about receiving. Our focus at Christmas should always be the birth of Christ with the fun of Santa topping it off, teaching us to give. Christmas comes with the greatest gift of giving: Christ giving His life for ours. Complicated? No. Go back and read the post by Faith, Family, and the Farm titled You Love Me Anyway.
For now, this month, the month of Thanksgiving, I am going to spend time in thankfulness for those gifts I have received. Each day plan to take a few minutes to be thankful.
Today I am thankful for my job. It allows me to keep my home and provide food on my table, help my family, give money to church and other good causes, plus have dessert in the form of trips or Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Yogurt.
What’s in your thankfulness gift box?