You know what’s not fun? Lying to my kids about Santa and his elves at Christmas when I’m supposed to be teaching them about Jesus. One of the core principles of Christianity is truth. Awesome.
I’ve got Christmas all wrong.
When my kids were little (under five), I loved Santa for them. We indulged and got Elf on the Shelf; another cute tradition that they love. We see one Santa every year on an event we do with friends called Santa Sunday. I felt their excitement and anticipation for the season, and I loved every minute of it.
Now they’re a bit older – not by much – and are starting to really get into the swing of the Christmas routine. Lots of parties, presents, hot chocolate, holiday lights, books, songs, etc. fill their time.
But the most anticipated parts of Christmas – Elf on the Shelf and Santa – have nothing to do with the REAL reason for the season!
How do I get my kids excited about celebrating Jesus’s birthday when there is so much other fun stuff to grab their attention? I’m the one who started it all. I question my parenting skills, and believe I’ve got Christmas all wrong.
The elves (yes, we have more than one…who am I??) recently sat lower than normal in the house. We normally have a rule that they stay high from flying in from the North Pole, and to help our children decrease their chances of touching the elves. The other day I trusted my daughter, God bless her, to not touch the elves while they were eye-level.
All of a sudden she is asking me how to write “Chippy” and “I’m sorry.” When I asked her why, she burst into tears and confessed to accidentally touching one of the elves.
I’m not talking a little teary-eyed. I’m talking about sobbing, uncontrollable, snot-running-down-the-face crying.
Immediately we sprang into action to calm her down, assuage her fears that the elf would be back, and that he’d know it was an accident. (How deep am I digging myself yet?)
During prayers that night she asked Jesus to heal “Chippy” and to send him back after he was all better at the elf hospital.
Thankfully, Chippy returned the next day with only a bandage on his arm.
After that, I realized our priorities have been shifted and now I’m reclaiming the whole point of Christmas.
It’s about Jesus. Simple. No presents, elves, or Santa should distract from that. I have a lot of work to do to make this right, but one thing I know, is that with time, love and a gentle transition, the true meaning of Christmas will prevail in our home.
For now, it will stay a blend of a little bit of magic and a whole lot of prayer.