This is the first Christmas that I think Everett is starting to piece together Christmas. Right now, it's just a word to him. He sees trees and yells Christmas! and has seen Santa Clause in Christmas parades; however, when I ask him what Christmas is he doesn't have a response. He's a blank slate, a little mind that is trying to figure it out. This Christmas I'm trying to figure it out too. Trying to wrestle with what I will tell my kids and how I will make the birth of Jesus bigger than the lure of Santa. Parenting is full of hard decisions and this is one of them.
I've read two articles recently that have challenged me. Both are bucking the trend of Santa. In fact, removing the jolly fellow altogether. It gives me mixed emotions. You see, I love Christmas. I love the songs and the decorations and the traditions. I love the gift giving and getting. I love the movies and sentiment. I love it all and so it's hard and a gut check for me. Am I celebrating what our culture made Christmas into more than I'm celebrating my Savior's birth? A quote from this blog really resonated with me. It was from a non-believer who stated some hard truths to swallow:
"I always thought it was strange how Christians will tell me they have this giant and awesome truth they know is true deep in their soul and want to share with me, but when 12/25 comes around they lie to their own progeny because, apparently, that giant, liberating, and awesomely simple truth is somehow just not enough. It may be a good narrative, but it needs a little something to give it some panache." *
* (taken from "the christmas conundrum" - read it if you have time)
** (this is the other article I read by Ann Voskamp)
Ouch. That's a real question for me--- is the simple truth and joy of Jesus big enough? I've never thought of it like that or how the way that I'm celebrating could translate into that. What has Christmas become really? A holiday filled with consumerism and self and I'm as guilty as everyone else. I don't want that to be the lesson that I'm teaching my kids. I don't want my kids to think Christmas is all about the gifts that they're getting. I want them to know that it's about the free gift that is already been given in the form of God come to earth. I want them to enjoy the traditions and the fun stuff, but most of all I want them to know that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. I want them to know that Santa and gift giving and carols are all just representative of a greater story and purpose.
For me, I'm praying and searching for a balance. A balance where we can still have traditions and sing songs and celebrate the season, but one in which Jesus reigns supreme. Like anything in parenting, it's hard and I'm learning some ugly truths about myself. Parenting is funny like that. A reminder that no matter age, that I need Jesus grace daily and that I don't have things all figured out. What I do know is that being a parent has challenged every part of me to pursue Jesus better. I'm going to try to do that this advent season and hope my kids see Jesus through it.