December is upon us and Christmas is 2 1/2 weeks away. It’s an exciting time for 2 crazy little boys.
There are extra cartoons on tv (about SANTA!) and the Sunday newspaper is full of books of toys. There is the threat (hope) of snow. There’s a tree with lights and shiny decorations. There’s Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. It’s bright and shiny and magically, especially when you’re five and three.
And then there’s the other side of Christmas. It’s quiet and peaceful. It’s not shiny. There’s no extra cartoons for it. You can barely hear it over all the other noises. It’s a star, angels, shepards, wise men, and a baby born in a manger. It’s the Savior. And it’s even more magically than Santa Claus.
I’ve heard you have to pick. It’s one or the other. Santa wasn’t in the manger. If you love Jesus then you can’t believe in Santa. Why would you lie to your kids? They’ll be so disappointed when they learn the truth. You know all the usual suspects. And I have to disagree with them all. Well, all but that Santa wasn’t in the manger, but I wasn’t there either so how do I know?
I love Jesus. And I’m raising my boys to love him, too. Does this mean I can’t believe in Santa Claus? Does this mean I can’t enjoy the cartoons and trees and shiny decorations? Does this mean I can’t believe in the magic that comes to life this time of year?
I say no! I believe in it all and it doesn’t make me love Jesus any less. And I want my boys to believe in it all too.
I remember when I was young and asked my mom if Santa was real. She told me a story from her childhood and this is how I remember it:
It was Christmas Eve and my aunt was a young girl. All she wanted for Christmas was this one certain doll and there was no way for my grandparents to get it for her. That night there was a knock on the door and when they answered it there stood a man they didn’t know with the exact doll for my aunt. And that is the magic of Christmas.
I don’t know for sure that that is what really happened or if it’s even what I was actually told. That’s what I remember, and if any of the story is different, I don’t want to know. Keep it to yourself. And when my boys are older and someone tells them that Santa Claus isn’t real, it’s the story I’m going to tell them. Santa Claus might not have put the presents under our tree this year, but I believe he’s real.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s a man with flying reindeer who goes down the chimney of every house in the world delivering presents to good little girls and boys. I don’t believe that if we put a top hat on our snowman that he will come to life and sing and dance. But I do believe in the magic.
This weekend we took the boys to see Santa Claus and then to a live nativity. Santa Claus might bring the presents under the tree, but Jesus is the reason he does it. It’s all because we’re celebrating Jesus’s birthday. It’s okay to do both. I’m fairly certain that if your heart is with Jesus that he doesn’t care who gets the credit for what’s under the tree.
This is what I believe and how we’re raising our kids. If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. Raise your kids however you want. But don’t steal the magic away from our Christmas. We love Jesus and are leaving cookies for Santa (and apparently carrots for the reindeer).
Believe in the magic AND love Jesus.