This has been a very special Christmas season for my grandson Vandin. He is 7 and it’s almost magical to him. Kids usually enjoy Christmas, but this has been especially true for him this year. His excitement is apparent in so many things – the things he has noticed, his desire to help decorate at home and at his grandparents (even great-grandparents) and his enthusiasm to participate in the Christmas play at church. He wanted to write a letter to Santa and even his prayers at night include something about Christmas. As a grandparent, it has been exciting for me to watch as well.
Because my experiences were different than most others’, it’s probably even more exciting for me. I cannot recall a time when I believed in Santa Claus nor do I recall a time when I did not believe in Jesus. I remember having a debate with a young boy in the church about Santa Claus thinking he was ridiculous. I followed that same pattern with my own children. I’m not sure if they ever believed that Santa was real and they probably cannot recall a time when they did not know Jesus. That is not a statement of direction, only observation. There is a conversation to be had about how to approach the subject of Santa or Jesus, but I just want to share with you the burden of a little boy and the joy that Christmas can be.
A few nights ago we were out of town so Barbara and I called Rowan and Vandin to check on their day. Vandin had been watching a YouTube tutorial on how to draw and was now showing me some of his resulting work. To my surprise, it was extremely good. He told me he was going to cut them out to take to a girl at school. His mom rolled her eyes and I chuckled a little but didn’t say much else about it.
When we returned, Barbara and I went to each lunch with Vandin one day at school. While we were sitting there, he pointed out the little girl he had given his drawings to. He then looked at me very seriously and said, “Poppy, she doesn’t believe Jesus or Santa Claus are real. She won’t believe unless she has proof. I am going to get her proof. She doesn’t need to have Christmas without Jesus or Santa”. What a wonderful insight.
Before you get too self righteous and tell me how Santa Claus should not be a part of the conversation, hear me out. How much better would this Christmas be if we were as concerned as Vandin that those close to us experienced Jesus and Santa? For Vandin, it’s a mission. The season would be a little bit brighter for those around you if they had that experience as well. Maybe we should examine our mission and make sure that the people around us know the love of Jesus and the fun of Santa this Christmas season. I am not sure you can bring physical evidence that will change someone’s mind. But you can take a few actions that will at least give them thought. This Christmas season why don’t you try to:
Christmas seems to be a time for everyone to talk. This is what I want for Christmas. This is where I am going for Christmas. Since everyone is talking it would be a good time for us to listen. It very well may reveal something that would help us show them Christ more than they have ever experienced Him before.
The stress and strain of a busy Christmas season can cause us to have short tempers and less patience. It can also cause us to be more critical of others and their lives. I wonder how different the season would be if we offered a little more acceptance and overlooked some flaws. What would they think if we were actively caring for people. Giving gifts is a great way to express your love for others, but there are so many other ways to show you care for the people around you.
There may be no time during the year that gives us more opportunities to talk about our faith than Christmas. Everywhere you go there are songs playing about a baby in a manger or angels. There are nativity scenes in all types of places. Generosity abounds. Lights signify a joyous time. All of which open a door for us to talk about our faith. We should leverage these opportunities to speak about spiritual things and what they mean in our own lives. There is no better backdrop than Christmas to share your story of faith.
You may not have people in your life who do not believe in Jesus (or Santa for that matter), but all of us have people who have chosen to ignore faith or who have drifted away from a place they used to be. Make the season a little more memorable for them. Remember as Vandin said, no one should have to do Christmas without Jesus and Santa.