Yesterday I read a friend's post on facebook about Santa. To do the Santa thing or not to do the Santa thing? It brought about some pretty strong emotions from commentors. I found it pretty funny what the initial post was about. Not 'funny haha', but 'funny weird'. Someone she knew had, in not so many words, said they were elevating Santa higher than Jesus by pretending there was a Santa with their kids.
At our house we do Santa. Santa comes. Santa brings presents. Santa gets cookies and milk. Little Santas are displayed througout our house as decorations, along with snowmen, and sleighs, and miniature trees. We also celebrate the biggest gift of all, Jesus. That is our main focus. Santa and snowmen and sleighs and trees are just the fun stuff we add for our kids. We don't elevate those make-believe ideas higher than what's real and true.
I realize in some cases Santa is the only thing that is celebrated in households. The true reason is left out or not even known about, and that makes me sad. However, it will not keep our family from adding elements of fun and whimsical magic for our kids. Passing judgements on families for doing Santa or not doing Santa is a little ridiculous, and in my opinion, a complete waste of time. Every family has their own set of beliefs about the best way to celebrate Christmas, and I doubt passing judgement will really make a difference in a positive way.
I'll tell you what will make a difference, and that's giving. Giving of your time and giving of good gifts to others. God gave the world a gift in a human form. We can be Christ like by giving gifts to others to bless them, and serve them with loving kindness. Let it be our family, friends, or strangers, we are going to be givers.
I think the best example of giving to me came in the form of my little five year old last night. He brought in his Mason jar of money that he has had since he was a baby. Never, ever, ever has he spent any money from that jar. It has a pretty large amount of cash in there for him to use someday, and I guess 'someday' finally came.
His class was asked to bring in small amounts of change or dollars to help support a local homeless shelter. Little Man slams his jar on the kitchen table and tells me he wants to give. It was really hard for me to not say anything and let him decide on the amount. He obviously doesn't fully grasp the value of money, but he knows the bigger the number on the bill, the better the money is. He reached in and pulled out the bill that had the biggest number on it, then dumped out the change to give as well. The best part was what he said.
"I want to give enough to feed a little girl and a little boy just like me and Little Miss. I want them to have yummy food, and I think this will buy it for them. Do you think it will buy it for them?"
Knowing exactly how much it costs to feed X amount of people at our local homeless shelter, I told him it was enough to not only feed a little boy and little girl, but also a mommy and daddy as well. His smile was priceless. He was so happy to give. It's one of those moments you feel you're doing a great job as a parent. Well, until he farts and tells me it was a good one because "it's really stinky." Yep, we're doing great parenting over here!