A couple of weeks ago I asked the kids in our house church the following question: When you think Christmas what do you think of? Their answers were as follows:
“Presents and reindeer and Christmas trees.” – Maia age 5
“Trees.” – Georgia age 2
“My family and everyone being together.” – Chloe age 7
“Presents, food and turkey. No not turkey. Family!” – Ethan age 11
“Jesus and presents.” – Lily age 7
“Giving. Santa. Joy.” – Chase age 6
At first I thought, “Only one child said Christmas = Jesus. Oh no! We are failing as a community, as parents and as Jesus followers. How could this be?!” Now granted I was already a bit sensitive as this was on the heels of my daughter asking me, “Mom, is the Christmas story in the Bible?”
So after taking a moment to gather myself I listened again to the words the kids had chosen: family, food, giving, presents, joy – all pretty good stuff really. And yes, in this small sampling of children, Santa and Jesus did get even billing but I’m ok with that because by just asking the question we had a very cool conversation about all things Christmas.
I told the kids that I was kinda surprised that more of them had not said Jesus and his birth when they thought of Christmas. 11-year-old Ethan was quick to offer some wisdom, “Yeah it should be all about Jesus but it’s not cause everybody’s all involved with the presents and the food.” And he followed it with, “That’s right I’ll say it.”
And say it you should my friend. Say it LOUD. Call us on it. While I have come a long way in recent years I still struggle to swim against the tide of Santa and the frenzy that comes with him. There are moments each December when I get sucked into the world of shopping, baking and entertaining and my attention strays from the anticipation of the birth of Christ to other less worthy endeavors but not for long.
There many different ways to stay focused on Christ during Advent. One of the simplest ways for our family is to light a candle and read an Advent message during dinner. This simple act of pausing to read scripture and talk about His coming birth brings all of us back to the amazing event we are anticipating and celebrating. Of course in addition to this I’ve got a cool bunch of kids to help keep me on track by telling me exactly how it is.