I don’t believe that Jesus and presents for my babies are mutually exclusive. There’s this new equation going around that (starts to sound like it) says, “take how much you think you love Jesus, subtract the number of Christmas presents that you buy, and that is how much you actually love Jesus, if and only if you can somehow relate the presents that you buy to the gifts of the Magi, then you can add back one love point”.
Now, I understand that people are doing what’s right for their family, just like I’m doing what’s right for my family. And believe me when I say that I realize sometimes how the massive amount of things can sometimes cloud what the true meaning of the season. We've even tossed the idea around of trading the materialism in for more traditional ways to celebrate in the upcoming years. But this year, we still believe in Santa. Yet the judgements insue. It's just this vibe that I get from time to time. I judge myself sometimes. Because hey, I want my kids to love Jesus and to not be materialistic little snots. (There are actually very few people who do want their children to materialistic little snots, by the way.)
So I was thinking about all this this year and I’ve come to a conclusion. I will teach my children that Jesus is the best gift the world has ever been given, that He was born to die for their (and everyone’s) sins, and that they (and everyone) can be saved by accepting the gift of Himself that He gave to those He loved: them (and everyone). I will teach them that we take this time to be thankful and pay special notice to the love, peace, joy, and selflessness already in the world and that they can give give to the world.
I will show them we can partake in all those things and still buy presents for each other. I will show them how to delight in thinking about their siblings and buying them something “perfect”. I will savor their joy at receiving good gifts that they haven’t earned that are given out of love with no restrictions.
This year we’re going to have a Christmas season that is filled with family, fun, gift giving and receiving, the Truth of the birth of Jesus, fairy tales about Santa and flying reindeer, service projects, and a mischevious little Elf named Elvis. . .
…and let’s be honest: temper tantrums, lost patience, crying, gallons of hot cocoa, anxiety about the whole season, and hey, the one morning a year that I won’t mind a ridiculously early wake up call.
So, yes, I’m shooting for the best of both worlds here, and yes, of course, “Jesus is the reason for the season”, so if it comes down to a smack-down between Jesus and Santa I know which side I’ll be cheering for, but really, I think we can avoid that. And no, I don’t want a figurine of Santa kneeling in front of the manger, but thanks for asking.
To guide me through this cosmic balancing act I’ve bought lots of children's books on the nativity as well as our beloved "Elf on a Shelf" (who's been at it all December, I might add!) . I’m going to be using them to set up some new traditions, hone some old ones, and peacefully juggle jingle bells from now to New Year’s. So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, friends! Enjoy a little (spiked) eggnog and Christmas carols. And remember to invite Jesus to your Christmas, in whatever way means the most to you. He truly is the reason for the season.