A couple months ago, I let our 11yo in on the nuances of believing.
There is a great debate in our world of whether or not to believe in Santa. At the extremes, there is the Keeping-Christ-in-Christmas and don’t make it about Santa versus Christmas magic and Kris Kringle all the way. Both sides voice concern over believing in something invisible and not-real, and both can end with a question of, “What happens if the kids find out what they’ve believed all along has been a lie?”
The thing is, there’s truth in BOTH. We should keep a Christ-focus around Christmas and we can believe in Christmas magic. Yep. All together.
I’m not talking about consumerism. I’m not talking about naughty and nice (although admittedly, I sure do like to claim extra eyes on the kids this time of year…). I’m talking LOOK AROUND.
There is joy. There is kindness. There are smiles. There are extra cookies and cakes being baked for neighbors and beautiful lights on trees and homes everywhere. There are old men growing out grey beards and dressing in red velour to give kids HOPE that they are SEEN and HEARD and that their secret wishes MATTER. There are stores spilling over with decorations and people wearing headbands with fuzzy antlers on them and cozy reindeer-laden pjs. There are funny movies, romantic ones, heartbreaking stories, people overcoming great obstacles to be with one another during this time of year. It matters. The Christmas spirit is everywhere and it matters.
It matters because at its heart, there is RELATIONSHIP.
It might be terribly dysfunctional or obligatory. But it might also be your safe place, your grounding place, your place to reset and realign and rebalance for the new year ahead.
So while we spend our evenings right now reading stories about Advent and focusing on a miraculous birth thousands of years ago, we do so in a home filled with Christmas lights and garland and smells of cinnamon and music about reindeer and coming home and Frosty the Snowman and Ho-Ho-Ho, and yes, going to tell it on the mountain.
And what does this have to do with the aforementioned 11yo? Well. Everything.
He was very nervous to see Santa. We made him. We made him because his little brother is 100% on board that Santa brings the gifts. The younger kiddo is still on the other side of the Magic of Christmas.
And our boy sacrificed. He swallowed that feeling of “I’m too old” and “I’m too big to sit on Santa’s lap.”
He’s totally too big.
But he did it to preserve, for as long as we can, the sweet imagination of his younger brother. The thrill that Santa’s story brings. The HOPE.
And as I pointed out to our 11yo, LOOK AROUND. Look at what lengths the WHOLE WORLD is going to, just to preserve the hope. Sometimes, the whole world isn’t ready to hope in Jesus, but they might start to if we show them that all the good stuff that they see around Christmastime could be a whole new way of living. A whole new way to HOPE.
It’s fun to be on this side of things, to be the ones planning and decorating and talking and teaching others about all that Christmas is – the Jesus AND the Santa parts.
And then it’s also to fun to shoot all the things with bows and arrows.