I'm going to talk about it. Maybe I can explain it better here with more time to phrase what's on my heart to my extended family. I relate to an acquaintance of mine, Courtney who posted about to Halloween or not. She creatively throws a "No Fear" party in lieu of the spooky celebrations that occur in October. Her entry has been on my mind frequently ever since. God has placed it on my heart to not just include Him, but make Him the sole focus of my family's celebrations. I have to agree with this fellow blogger in the sentiment that my family too is taking back Christmas for Jesus. Jen is passionately reclaiming for her family a holiday easily gotten out of control. Redeeming our days for Christ applies for all celebrations. Another blogger, Jeanne's post about her birthday celebration for Jesus clinched it for me. A tangible activity that will reach my children's hearts on the important real gift of Jesus in our lives.
For December, we are keeping the focus on Christ. That's our sole aim in life as believers and follows of Jesus. So, why would I miss the opportunity while we celebrate His birth to shine that message to the best of my ability? Why would I dilute the message and cloud my family's understanding of this celebration with other things?
It's not really about what we aren't doing. There are many many other ways to have fun in December. We just aren't going to spend our time on them. Yes, one of those alternatives is Santa Claus, reindeer and elves. Just as we don't include ghosts and witches in our Halloween, Santa's world will not be present in our festivities. Some may disagree and not see these on the same level, we do. But it's not enough to chose one way simply because another doesn't settle well. What Santa Claus symbolizes that of generosity, good will and love is best displayed in the act of Jesus' birth. The annual traditions, tv shows, movies, pictures, games, events, activities, crafts and books we read will all be about getting to know more about and celebrating the indescribably incomparable gift of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I pray to walk my children through the symbols of Christmas they see in every store and other people's front lawns as we walk outside our very door and how they can all point back to Christ. We plan to throw Jesus a birthday party. We'll bake a cake, have a banner, sing and open gifts. What child doesn't like a birthday party?? We are spending the month of December preparing our hearts for this celebration on December 25th. I'm loving that Christmas is on a Sunday this year so we will be attending our church that morning as well.
There's a second reason I post this, because God has worked on my heart through the words of others. God encouraged, inspired and convicted me to pray and rethink how much we were buying in to the world's definitions of celebrating. As Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. If finding our place in Christmas has been on my heart this year, surely I can't be the only one. My husband and I came to this conclusion after several events including reading together, praying and discussing the above mentioned posts. Fun can be had through Jesus. Traditions and family unity are His design. I want the boys to be excited, I want them to marvel in the excitement of living a life full of the hope, joy and love of God. His light outshines anything and everything together that the world has to offer.
Topic: IF we did Santa, how would we handle eventually telling them the truth?
Where we landed: We discussed this with a mom who is going through that this year. She said if she had it to do all over again, she wouldn't have done Santa. No matter how much fun it was at the time. She was the one who talked her husband in to it and regrets it. My husband and I both had negative experiences with feeling let down and lied to about Santa.
Topic: We could use Santa as a stepping stone to believe in something the boys can't see.
Where we landed: If we tell them Santa is real and in several years they find out he is not, what does that do to our credibility as far as Jesus. Whom they can't see and we tell them is real.
Topic: What about the fun in Christmas?
Where we landed: We've been doing lots of searching for ways to make Jesus' birth real to our young children. Mainly for Munchkin this year at 25 months, Doodbug is turning 6 months this week. I found everything from puzzles, window clings, crafts, coloring pages, stories, DVD's, activity pages, toys, LOADS of books and Advent activities for the next several years. I chose to trust God to continue to lead me to resources that will glorify Him much like I do with homeschooling this year for preschool. I hope to share more specifics in future posts.
Topic: What about Christmas traditions from our own childhoods?
Where we are: The love we share with our family is the best tradition we could ever hope to pass on to our children.
This year we have a sense of peace. Filtering our activities helps the season be focused, purposeful and intentional. As a result our family is more calm, loving and less stressful. The bottom line for us is, it's about God receiving the glory. In the end, it's about growing in our lives closer in trusting Him. I'm so grateful for God's strength in my life. I'm in desperate need of His daily forgiveness. I need His rules and discipline. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit am I able to resist temptation and be repentant. Every day I'm deeply grateful for the salvation provided by a baby born in a manger.