CHRISTmas vs. Santa Claus

Normally, I would start this post by telling you that life has been so busy that I just haven't had a moment to update my blog. While that is true in a way, it seems ironic since I've been spending MUCH more time on the computer recently. I'm not a "black Friday" girl, I'm a "cyber Monday" girl. I have found a lifelong friend in internet shopping, and this year, almost all my purchases are being made online. So I have been busy, but I've been sitting at this computer the whole time. My head is still spinning from all the 1-day sales, free shipping offers, and buy one get one free deals. I've had a headache almost every day since last week - which I will blame on the shopping - although it probably has a lot more to do with my refusal to wear my prescribed eyeglasses when on the computer. But typing about my failing eyesight reminds me that this is the last Christmas of my twenties. I will not dwell on that - after all, this is the season for good cheer - not the season for petitioning Al Gore to give up on "going green" and move on to significant goals like eternal youth. Don't worry, I'll focus on that in January.

Back to the point. Rebekah turned 10 months old yesterday! She's so close to being one - it's scary. She is waving and saying hi now, and just started signing "please". And she's still pretty bald. So bald, in fact, that I am actually considering some of those ridiculously huge flower headbands. Or maybe I should just take a sharpie and write this on her head:


I would write that because interestingly enough, people tend to assume that bald babies are boys (even when they are wearing pink/flowery outfits), or if they get her gender right, they assume she's 3 to 4 months old. I'm starting to think it might be fun to let them think they are right about her age, and then gloat that my 3-month old can crawl, stand and take steps. So much fun to shame other babies and make them feel inferior No, I would not enjoy that in any way.

Tonight, my husband and I took the kids to a Christmas tree lighting in another neighborhood. It was nice to enjoy some of the Christmas spirit - plus some free hot chocolate never hurts! We arrived about 10 minutes before they were supposed to light the tree. There was a live nativity scene, and kids were performing some Christmas songs. Typical stuff. Then it was announced that Santa Claus had arrived and was going to speak. What Santa said next took me by surprise. He got up and after saying the traditional "ho ho ho", asked the kids if they knew what we really celebrate on Christmas day. Then he told them that it was Jesus' birthday. He mentioned that his family has a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas. He said "Christmas is the celebration of the birth of OUR SAVIOR". Santa told the kids to be sure to remind their parents of this - if it seems like they've forgotten.  Then Santa Claus led everyone in singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.


I would've expected that at a church gathering, but not at a neighborhood, unaffiliated, secular tree lighting. In those moments, as a parent, I was relieved. I know my son is not even 3 years old yet, but he's definitely interested in all this Christmas stuff this year. I want to teach him to focus on what Christmas really is about, but I don't want to deny him the fun of Santa, snowmen and elves. Granted, we don't play up the whole "Santa" thing with gift-giving, but up until now, CHRISTmas and Santa always seemed to be at odds with each other in my mind. If I take Zach to see Santa, am I actually pulling the focus away from Christ? These are the thoughts I've had. But tonight, Santa and CHRISTmas went hand-in-hand. Here was the jolly-old elf himself - with children looking to him with so much wonder and excitment - and he made Christ the focus. It was perfectly done.

I am so thankful that we live in a place where the values we teach our children in our home are also important and meaningful in the community. Just as Santa can reinforce the importance of Christ in Christmas, the community can reinforce the values that we teach in the home. I'm a realist - I know that this won't always be the case. I know that, in general, our Christian values and beliefs are at odds with the world. But how great to relax for once and have the two aligned.

A Merry Christmas, Y'all indeed.

P.S. I've noticed a lot more "Merry Christmas" wishes in the stores this year. If you are hearing "Happy Holidays" instead, or just want to encourage "Merry Christmas, check out this website. Here is a story about the movement.

P.S.S. One more great link that is a challenge to all of us this year: Advent Conspiracy