Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Change

I decided, before ever having children, that Santa Clause was not going to be a part of our celebrations. I had seen so many Nazi parents when it came to protecting their child from the truth (the truth! Isn't it amazing?!) and heard so many stories of children devastated by the truth that I put my foot down. No Santa Clause. We are not going to create an elaborate lie for 5, 6, 7 years only to have our children realize we are liars.

Growing up my siblings and I were taught to be grateful for whatever we received. No matter what it was. We still tell the story of the year a friend of the family gave us gifts, but mixed up my brother's gift of matchbox cars with my sister's gift of a doll. The look on my brothers face when he opened the doll was priceless, but without missing a beat he looked up at the family friend, smiled and said "thank you!". She, of course, immediately realized the mistake and made it right (not without some protests from our much younger sister who didn't want to give up the cars haha). We laugh and laugh about this memory, but it is always a reminder to me of the lessons we learned growing up and how sadly they are lacking in our country today.

I have never encouraged Santa Clause, or Christmas wish lists with my boys, but ever since Noah has heard that Christmas is coming he has been giving us his list of gifts. The most prominent on his list has been a "camera helicopter".

I have no clue what he is talking about.

But, not only has he been insistent that he will be receiving one for Christmas, he has also decided that Santa will be bringing him gifts as well. Despite the fact the we do not own a single book or video about Santa and he is not discussed in this house (not intentionally, he's just not a part of our celebrations ever).

I, of course, was starting to get concerned about gift-opening Christmas Day. Noah has been known to throw fits in the past and I did not want to hurt any relatives feelings or have Noah spend the day in time-out.

I decided to have a chat with him about what Christmas is all about. And, after the chat, as I watched him hurl himself onto his bed, screaming at the top of his lungs, "CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT PRESENTS, IT IS!! IT IS!!" I realized that I had done my children a great disservice.

I had assumed that, because we know Jesus and go to church. Because I knew how to be grateful and because Santa Clause was banned; my children knew. But they didn't. Instead of teaching my children to be grateful. Instead of telling them of the children in other countries, and even our own, who had so.much.less. Instead of sharing with them the reason for Christmas and showing them how to be grateful..I had filled their room with toys, and allowed the world (albeit the small piece they have access too) to teach my children of greed and selfishness and getting.

This year, there will be changes. Next year there will be even more changes and soon, we will all be changed.

I am ashamed that I have missed sharing with my children the true joy of Christmas. I am sad that I don't even focus on HIM anymore. It brings me to tears when I look around my house, at all the wonderful things I own, that I don't even need, at the mental wish list I have and realize that some children ask for underwear for Christmas. And some children don't get to celebrate Christmas at all. Yet we have others who are asking for an iPod touch because the iPod they already own is outdated. Or for movies. An additional toy to add to their already vast collections of un-played-with toys.

I don't even know how to end this post because I haven't arrived at The Answer yet. I don't know what traditions I will keep and what I will toss out. I don't know what new things we will start. I don't know how many presents my children will be getting, or if they will be getting any at all.

I just don't know.

But I do know that I want less and I want more all at the same time.

Less of this world and more of Him.

I don't know how that's going to look, but I know there will be tears, from the boys and from me. We will give up things we've never cared about and things we care for greatly, but in the end - it will be all worth it. Because this is not where we belong anyway. And we are not here because of US, but because of HIM and how could I not give Him everything He asks of me. For He gave everything that was asked of Him.


Some links that are aiding me on my journey:

The Advent of our Advent, Ann Kroeker (focus)

Advent, the Beginning of Wonder, Like Mother, Like Daughter (patience, for the celebration of a Lifetime)

Yes We Need A Little Tension, Right This Very Minute, SortaCrunchy "there is still this part of me that wraps my arms around the Christmases of my own childhood and hisses through clenched teeth, tears in eyes: "But this was magical! And wonderful!"

3 comments:

OctoberRain said...

We just like giving to our children which ends up with spoiled children LOL I totally hear you on this one. I keep wanting to do the 3 gift thing (Something to wear, something to read/educational, something they want) but then I get carried away because I like seeing them enjoy opening gifts. Another thing I want to do is focus on Jesus' birthday, throw him a party or something before gifts are opened. One thing I do make the boys do is GIVE their gifts to others first and wait and watch them open them before they can touch any of their own.

Odie Langley said...

I have felt the same way you do for a long time. My girls get nervous at christmas time thinking I will try to say to the children that Santa is a myth. My wife and I are really trying and decided to not buy each other gifts and to find a needy person at a rest home and help that person this year. I wish you luck in your efforts and I would definately get the Pastor involved if I were in your neck of the woods.
Odie

Kristie said...

The Santa thing is a tough one. I totally respect your thoughts on it-especially to focus more on Jesus. I remember one year my mom making a birthday cake for Jesus and it's something that I'd like to do...maybe work in the idea of gift giving in with it somehow.

I have to admit that I've felt guilty the last couple years about how much the kiddos have gotten. I only ever wanted them to have a couple toys (ever!) and not be spoiled....then the first Christmas with Rich's family they had to have gotten over double what we did for Morgan and I felt funny about that...like I'm the parent and should be the one doing that. Another problem is my husband-he grew up with Christmas's being what they are in his family and I don't know that I can get him to change...I think it'll have to be a slow process ;-)

Anyway, there's a lot I'd like to change here too and this comment is already too long! ;-)