Friday, December 7, 2007

All I Want for Christmas

When your child is less than a year old, Christmas is pretty easy to handle. He has no clue what is going on and is happy regardless of what goes on regarding the holidays. But we realize that we are going to have to decide now what we want our holidays in the future to look like. Although we aren't always successful, we want to be purposeful in what we do and make sure we have thought out the things that we choose to engage in.

And we realize that things change over time. The way I view things now is so different than how I did a few years ago and it may very well be that what we believe is best now could change at some point. But you have to start somewhere.

So regarding Christmas, here is where we are at. I don't post all this because I have everything figured out and want to make sure you reap the benefits of my insightfulness. Hardly. Feel free to agree, disagree, or dismiss any of all of this. This is just our views, not the gospel.

1. We want to make sure we are rejoicing in and celebrating Christ's birth, death, resurrection, and coming return all year long. I don't want the only time that our thoughts turn to the majesty and wonder of the incarnation to be December. Not that there is anything wrong with setting aside a special season to reflect on and celebrate His birth--I just don't want it to be something only associated with the day of Christ's Mass.

2. We aren't doing the Santa thing. This is for a number of reasons. First, in order to take part in this tradition, you have to lie. I don't want to lie to my kids. I know many people object to this on the grounds that it is a fun, harmless tradition that makes Christmas time that much more magical amd memorable for children, but I believe that a truly special, memorable, fun season can be enjoyed without having to make up anything. Another reason is that I want my children to be thankful to God for all that they receive. I want them to know that the Lord gives all that we have. If He supplies enough money that we are able to give them some non-necessity, fun items, then I want to foster grateful hearts that acknowledges that He has blesssed us above and beyond what we need or even deserve. I want them to thoroughly enjoy what they get and not be somber and sullen, but at the same time, humble, knowing that getting gifts isn't a right they are guaranteed under the constitution. Now, of course I'm not going to cover their eyes when we pass the mall Santa and I'm not going to forbid them from watching a movie that Santa is in and I'm definitely not going to allow them to tell other kids that Santa isn't real if those kids believe in him, we're just not going to let our kids believe that he is real and the giver of gifts.

3. We have decided that the gifts we do give will be limited. We plan on ascribing to the "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" plan. There is no reason to go overboard or break the bank in order to buy gifts. We want our kids to enjoy receiving presents, but we also don't want to encourage greed or discontentment. The idea behind this is that the focus won't be on what they are getting. I don't want there joy to come from what they have or what they want, but rather in God, who through Christ has given us every blessing. We are heirs with Christ. I don't want any earthly possession to bring them more joy and peace than the knowledge of that does. I struggle with loving stuff WAY more than I should. I want my kids to be free of that burden as much as possible.

4. I want to have a bunch of fun family traditions. I want them to look forward to all of the special things that we get to do together. I'm not sure what all we will do yet, but as the years go by, I want to add one thing each year that makes this time of year full of wonderful memories...liking baking cookies or making ornaments or watching a certain movie. Who knows what we will do. But we will do it together.

This is just what I have so far. Like I said, things could change. The truth doesn't change, but it is always becoming more and more clear--semper reformanda.

ps--this has nothing to do with this post, but I just went to my comments moderation page and found a ton of comments that never made it to my email. So if you left a comment, and you thought I was being rude and not publishing it, so sorry! I just published them all for everyone's reading enjoyment!

pps-Asher updated his blog!


Denise said...

Interesting insights and I think you're right on. We are "doing" some of the Santa stuff but we are definitely wanting to temper it with the REAL reason for the season - the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ... the best gift EVER. Asher is blessed to have such thoughtful, intentional parents. And hey -thanks for the highlighted link to my page. I've had a lot more visitors this week because of you! :)

Brad & Carrie said...

We totally agree with all stated points. Why celebrate Christmas in a way that is counter to the rest of our lives.

Robin said...

Those all sound like good ideas and is about the same thing that we plan on doing, too.

susanna said...

Thanks for sharing this Jamie! We feel the same way as you and Kris do. And we are starting the "something they need... etc." guideline for gifts this year. You guys are awesome, godly parents, and we really respect you! See you on monday!!!

P.S. The first time i typed "godly" it came out as "goldy". I thought that was a funny typo :)

Patti said...

Yes, yes, yes, AND yes. Hearty agreement, wise lady. My first time to hear the "something I want.." rhyme. I like it.

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