"Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me."

Friday, December 19, 2014

Santa Claus, three Kings, okay . . .

To start out, I am sure I am not the first person to see how much Christmas is NOT about Christ these days. Walking around in stores and seeing the different Christmas options--okay, lots of reindeer, Santas, wreaths, trees, gingerbread men, snowflakes . . .

The most genuinely Christmassy things you would find in abundance are the stars. And angels. And a few manger scenes. I'm grateful for that. Its a small allowance that yes, there is a "different" meaning of Christmas than what I think most mainstream America construes.

In light of all this, I am trying to counter the mainstream. I dont' think there is anything "bad" about old St. Nick . . . except he is nothing to Christmas, and, quite honestly, nothing to us. He did a few good deeds during his day, if the history books are true, and he can get his reward for that. But for all of us, there is little reason to celebrate him. His good works did not truly affect our lives.

But now he is definitely being used for a bad purpose. To distract from the meaning of Christmas. To draw attention away from Christ. Christ, who is everything to us. Christ, who did more than a few good deeds but was perfect. Christ, who can not only just affect our lives, but completely change and transform our lives.

There are so many things that society is teaching that are completely opposite of the Bible and completely opposite from the message of Christmas.

To actively choose not to celebrate Santa is one good way to counter act this commercialized, santa clausized, empty version of Christmas. Let's bring the true meaning of Christmas back to our families, and teach it to our children.

I haven't gotten to the point of completely banning Santa from our house. His face is in a couple of corners, and on Yoni's pajamas, too. They're quite cute pajamas on Yoni! Maybe next year I will completely kick Santa out. But books about Santa coming down the chimney are not encouraged here. Again, its not because Santa is so evil, but simply because I want to teach my son that Christmas is about the baby that was born, who is the Savior.

How to focus on CHRISTmas? I have been looking for board books that tell the Christmas story. Not only are there few options, the options there are have the facts wrong.

When I am reading to my son and the book says, "Then three wise men came to worship baby Jesus in the stable," I usually try to change the words at this point.  First of all, the Bible never says how many wise men there were. Secondly, the wisemen came around when Jesus was a little bit older. If Mary and Joseph were still living in the stable at that point, I'm sure Joseph would be a farmer instead of a carpenter.

I guess I just wish there were a LOT more options of fun Christmas books that got the story right. I might have to write one some day. :) I have an idea for one but, you know, can't give it away or someone might steal the idea ;)

I have noticed that Yoni will actually listen when you read the gospel out loud to him, so I have read him the real Christmas story. That one really can't be improved!

A challenge to everyone out there--lets make this Christmas about Jesus. Forget about all the "christmas" love songs and singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. How about some Oh come oh Come Emmanuel. Stop stressing about the gifts. Stop worrying about the food. Enjoy it, but remember to focus on celebrating God's perfect gift.

This is my challenge to myself, this year.

Some ideas:
Listen to and sing real Christmas Carols
Attend your church's Christmas programs and Christmas Eve and day services if it has them
Read the Christmas story several times throughout the season
Read some of the prophecies about Jesus' birth
Thank God and praise him for Christmas!
Remember the Joy God has brought to us and try to share that with others.

Any more ideas, concrete or idealistic, are welcome in the comments!

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