Welcome again to Becky @ Happy Christian Home. She’s Guest Posting for me while I recuperate. I know you’ll find the post thought provoking, and you’re encouraged to leave your comments. Becky loves to respond!
I was at a bookstore the other day with my two children, ages 4 ½ and 2. I was about to get in line, because I could see my two year old toying with the idea of beginning the process of toddler meltdown. A sweet elderly lady was about to get in line at the same time, and said, “you go ahead.” I replied “are you sure?” and she said “of course, you have little ones.” After her kind gesture, we waited and she began interacting with my little ones. She looked at my babies and then at me and said, “this is who Christmas is for…the young children. Not people like my 37 year old grandson.”
I kind of had a giggle over what she said, but then reflected on how kid-centric our Christmases are. True, it can be a “magical” time for young and old alike. And it seems like most everyone celebrates whether or not they actually believe in the Christ of Christmas. But how much of the commercial aspect is geared toward our children? They are “brought up” from a very young age to believe in the Santa Claus version of Christmas, complete with presents under the tree for them.
Never Sat on Santa’s Lap
I have a confession to make: my children have never sat on Santa’s lap! I’ve squirmed out of various Christmas functions mentioned to me by relatives when they added “Santa will be there, you can have the kids’ pictures taken!” I would just rather avoid the issue most times, as I feel most would not understand…I just don’t really want to open that can of worms.
“Santa brings you presents if you’re good” Belief
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not a Scrooge. I celebrate Christmas. I enjoy the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree (okay, most years- I think last year I didn’t just because I didn’t want the kids to tear it up!), and sipping hot cocoa while listening to Christmas music. I want to create memories with my family, but I just feel so ambivalent about instilling the “Santa brings you presents if you’re good” belief into them. While this year is probably the first year that my four year old son “gets it”, we really haven’t put too much focus on showering him or our daughter with gifts. Most Christmases in the five years my husband and I have been married, we’ve pretty much only had it in our budget to buy for other family members that we’re visiting (I have nine nieces and nephews just on my side of the family alone), and a small gift or two to put under the tree for our children. They don’t know any better or different, but I wonder if that will change in coming years. Will they begin comparing what they have with what they see in the media?
What We Want to Communicate to Our Children at Christmas
In the past six months or so, my son has really started to take note of cultural things that are shown on television. Various holidays and traditions are shown on some of the TV shows he watches. As a young, “idealistic” parent, I think and hope that the example set in our home will speak volumes over what he sees on television.
Our focus throughout the year tends to be on “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38, NKJV)
This is the message I hope our children will receive about Christmas. Sure, a few gifts for them, and some fun stuff in their stockings, but I want to give honor to God, and communicate to my children that we can thank Him for all the things we receive, while we focus on giving to others in various ways. (And of course sharing with them the true meaning and origin of Christmas).
What ways have you found to put the focus on Christ during the Christmas season? How have you encouraged your children to give to others? Have you sheltered them from the Christmas portrayed in the media?
Becky is a wife of 5 years, and a stay at home mom. She is passionate about all things having to do with families and hopes to provide Biblical encouragement to women in their roles of wives and mothers through her blog Happy Christian Home.