Well hello there! I can’t help but notice a little something in the air, a bit of pine and cinnamon encroaching on the pumpkin-spiced everything. What do you know, Christmas time is here! I love this time of the year, but I didn’t always. There were about four years (in a row) where I was anxious, angry, and really lonely and during that time Christmas was the WORST. If you’ve ever gone through holidays when you’re lonely, or hurting, or anxious, or depressed, you know what I’m talking about. If that’s you today, my heart and prayers go out to you. What I found was that the more I could get out of myself and go be helpful somewhere, the less isolated and sad I became. The fact that it’s easier said than done doesn’t make it less true. And if it helps at all, during those dark years, I had no idea what was in store for me, which is glorious, unadulterated joy mixed with chaos.
Having three kids under the age of 6 is always kind of crazy, but Christmas amplifies everything so much! So much excitement and drama. Because we’re Christians, we do our best to make Christmas about Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that for little kids presents aren’t the main event. I don’t take my kids to the stores much, so they’re pretty sheltered when it comes to the sheer volume of STUFF there is out there for them to want. Well, they were. One trip to Target opened their eyes pretty darn quick.
I’ve celebrated Christmas as an agnostic, an atheist, and a Christian, and definitely enjoy it the most as a Christian. The internet being a degenerate wasteland of petty bickering, I’ve seen all sorts of responses to Christmas from both sides of the fence: ranging from demanding people NOT say ‘Merry Christmas’ to demanding a total refrain from any commercial revelry. My thought is that if you choose to celebrate a Christian holiday, don’t get mad when people talk about Jesus. If your biggest gripe against Christians is that you perceive us as overly judgmental and intolerant (as I once did), ask yourself how you are different if you get all hostile and nasty when someone does say the ‘MC’ phrase to you. If you are Christian, don’t try to ban people from your holiday because they don’t know Jesus – I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t approve of that tactic.
Anyway, we do buy presents, and we do the Santa thing to an extent, although we try to make him a bit player and not the main event. For example, Christmas Eve, we bake a birthday cake for Jesus and leave a piece out for Santa. Living in the world and all, the kids do hear that Santa has a naughty and nice list. Rather than try to control their behavior by invoking the guy in the suit or his creepy elf (sorry not sorry), I just tell the kids that to be on the good list, you have to be good all the time and they’re (obviously) not so they’re on the bad list (it’s not as mean as it sounds…really…I tell them no one’s good all the time, so to be fair, no one could actually be on the good list unless Santa grades on a curve.) Fortunately, their buddy Jesus will take the fall for them and He’ll tell Santa to put them on the good list.
I’m not sure how long this will even be a thing. Bisky came home yesterday and told me that a classmate of hers doesn’t believe in Santa. She was laughing at how silly he was, but I suspect she’ll be celebrating the ‘spirit’ of Santa by next year.
This all was swirling around last year and Bisky started asking a lot of questions about Christmas, so I wrote her a story. My intent was for this to become a Christmas tradition. She loved it, and some of the analogies have helped me to deal with her as her character forms and she starts wrestling with her own and others’ good and bad behavior. I wanted to tell the story of grace (God’s grace, that is) in a way a kid could understand. I did have a couple pastors verify it to make sure I wasn’t being inadvertently heretical (I hate when that happens, don’t you?)
In my original story, I had a lot of pictures that I downloaded from Google Images. When I had the idea of making this story more widely available this became problematic. I am too lazy to track down all the pictures and find the credits, and too cheap to pay for the rights if I need to, and too unlucky to get away with not doing either. My solution was to leave big empty spaces where you and your child can draw your own pictures. It will either be really awesome or really awkward. If your kids are like mine it will be a huge hit. I guess we’ll see.
I do really like this story, and I also really like people who read my blog, so I’m making my little book available to you for free! You just need to click here to get access. I hope you enjoy it. Do let me know! I’ll hopefully squeeze in one more blog before Christmas. We’re going to go see ‘Santa’ on Monday so I’ll have at least a few stories to share!
Merry Christmas and God bless you every one!