Navigating Christmas

We are in full swing of another Christmas season, and we find ourselves again, trying to navigate how to properly celebrate Christmas within our family...in a way that celebrates Jesus first and foremost, but still includes some of our cultures fun traditions and seasonal activities. Last year, we had a very trim year by way of cultural celebrations and norms because we found our  almost 3 year old son overly infatuated with Frosty the Snowman and of no concern for Jesus. Yes, we realize he is just a preschooler, but we want to be careful to present the Jesus of the Bible in all His glory...one that doesn't stand a chance against the things of this world that seek to capture the hearts of our children. We tweeked some things and placed our focus where we believe it should be...simple and beautiful, with Jesus at the center- including reverence, generosity, and gratitude.
We've had many discussions over the last several weeks about juggling this time of year. We want to celebrate the Kingly newborn who came to redeem the world in such a way that it is awe-inspiring to our children. That's a huge job, a BIG responsibility, but a joyous one at that! Every year we want to keep hold of things that help us give the real Jesus, the awe-inspiring Jesus to our children, and take away things that fixate their minds and hearts on the commercialism of Christmas. Already, we've even changed things from last year, and I imagine we will do that every year as our family changes and grows.

Does this mean we will never mention Santa Claus? No, not necessarily. (Blog post on Santa coming up soon). What it does mean is that we will teach our kids the story about the real St. Nicholas who was devoted to Jesus and the poor. Last year, we were convicted about not emphasizing St. Nicholas at all (real or imaginary) due to the fact that we feel like our son was "all or nothing" in his mind's devotion. We've been able to handle a little bit of "Santa" this year (not in a "he's real"kind of way), so we'll continue to evaluate that entire area as time goes on.

We continue to navigate the present/gift giving world. We love giving gifts to our children, as I'm sure all parents do. It's so fun to see them open something and really enjoy it, especially since we don't shower them with toys and gifts during the year. Last year, we kept it pretty simple, with a few gifts and a stocking, as we will this year...especially since our kids gets gifts from very generous grandparents!

So all in all, we have no solid conclusions on anything... just trying to navigate the role of shepherding our children amidst spiritual and cultural holidays, and I imagine how that plays out practically will change from year to year. We just don't want to get to a point years down the road when our children are older that we have a huge mess to un-do.

This year, our Christmas season is in a bit of a limbo as we are living with grandparents while we close on a house. This has limited our yearly traditions of the Jesse tree and some family traditions as all our decorations and Christmas activities are packed away. I find myself overly concerned that I'm "dropping the ball" in teaching them this year about what Christmas is all about and fear I'm missing vital parenting time this season. But as Jon so gently reminded me today... it's all going to be just fine. And parenting is a life-long quest, one that has many mistakes, ups and downs, and even in that, our children learn the greatest and best lessons.

So I encourage you, at whatever stage you are in with your family, parenting, or personal life, to take a step back and ask yourself how can we better show a watching world the awe-inspiring Jesus of the Bible! Not a commonplace Jesus, but Kingly Jesus, the one who absolutely, positively doesn't hold a chance against a guy with a big belly, a bright red suit and presents galore. If we lack spiritual perspective, the world and its selfish materialism will always win.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Great post sweets, and thanks for the shout out! :) Being in limbo creates a difference. At least I get to celebrate my birthday with Jesus. That was the worst comfort to me as a child. It probably made me hate Jesus as a child because he stole my birthday thunder! Good thing he doesn't care about his birthday so much. It wasn't even December 25th anyway! Hahaha