Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Santa vs. Jesus

Santa vs. Jesus

The topic is hardly important enough to be an issue and yet I see it all over social networks.  Pro Santa people, vs.  No Santa people.  I hope we spend less time discussing this with our brothers and sisters and more time encouraging each other toward love and unity.  Paul's letters to the early church are plastered with the theme of unity.  Jesus said, "By this they will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." 

Love characterizes Jesus' followers --we can't forget that.

Matt Walsh has an article circulating titled "Who needs Santa when you've got Jesus?"

You can read it here  or don't if it is going to make you mad.  :-)

I want to share an excerpt from his article as I feel he makes a good point.

 Santa makes Christmas magical. If you take Santa away from your kid, you’ve taken all the fun out of the holiday.

Santa makes Christmas magical? SANTA?
Well, you know, there’s still Jesus. The Messiah. The Son of Man. Jesus Christ is better than magical. He offers something far greater than toys. He doesn’t have flying deer, but he has armies of angels. He doesn’t live in a cabin up in the North Pole, but He does live in a dimension that transcends time and space, and He invites us to join Him there in unending bliss. He doesn’t visit every house on Christmas night, but He’s always present, everywhere, all the time, because He is an omniscient deity.

In other words, Jesus is WAY cooler than Santa. This is a message that is, I think, tragically lost on many children. Let’s be honest: Christmas ain’t big enough for the both of them. Santa, the fun fictional character? Sure. Santa, the silly game of make believe? Yeah, he can join the festivities without overshadowing the Man of the Hour. But Santa, the actual real person who gives out toys made by elves? THAT Santa, being a man of considerable girth, tends to crowd Jesus out of the hearts of many kids. Yeah, Jesus is the Messiah, but Santa has TOYS. Who comes out on top in that scenario when you’re 4 years old?

Jesus is cooler than Santa: the message is tragically lost on many children.

How true it is that the allure of toys and candy can distract children from learning and understanding the most AMAZING story ever told.

May we realize the struggle in the hearts of our children and work hard to teach our children that Jesus is who we are celebrating.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Black Friday Blunder

So it was Thanksgiving night and we were doing what we did every year --pouring over the mountain of black Friday ads.

Eight households had a representative located somewhere between the living room and the kitchen.  I was at the table seriously studying the Lowes, Sears and Home Depot ad.  This was to be the year I finally get a miter saw.  [squeal!!!]   A couple of siblings were about to make a run to Staples so I had to quickly check out that ad to see whether or not we would get internet security free after rebate --we did.  I was circling the items I wanted them to pick up for me when Ty notices:

"Mom, what are you doing?"

"I'm circling the things I want to get."

"Oh!  Can I do it?"

"Yeah, sure, whatever."  I hardly glance up.  (Yes, I feel bad about it)

I set the Staples ad down and Ty immediately picks it up.  He begins circling every other laptop on the page.  Now when I say circling.... well... not to be rude here, but it's not so much of a cicle and more of a... well a bad circle. 

It's sloppy.

And this is THE ad.

The ad that 8 households have to share.  You don't mess with the ad.  One year people took the ads apart and left them lying all over the table or living room and then when the shopper came to gather it --at 4 in the morning, she had to scramble through the 300 pieces of shiny paper all over the house to get the marked up (circled) ad.

Needless to say she wasn't very happy.

"Ty!  Don't circle all that!"

"But I want all this."

"Ty, you only mark the stuff you want to PAY for.  You can't mark this cause you don't have any money."

"Yes I do, in my bank."

"Well... You shouldn't spend it, and it's not enough to buy a computer.  Here, look at these ads."

I hand him Dollar General and some other ads that no one is going to use.  Austin overheard the entire conversation and eagerly picked up a marker to "circle" his favorites.

A few minutes later Ty says: "Mom!  Can I have this?"  I look up to see him holding the Walgreens ad.  "Sure" I say, then I zone out.

Next day....

Ty comes up to me with an envelope and a pen.  "Mom, can you write our address on here?" I take the envelope and ask him why he wants his address written.  "Because I want to mail this to us."  He holds up a torn-out section of the Walgreens ad.  It was an inflatable snowman.  It was this:

I found out later he didn't tear it out, nor did he cut it out, he punched it out with a pen --this will seem sad later on in the story.

I thought it a little odd that he didn't just take the snowman picture home with him in his pocket.  Maybe he just wanted to get some mail.  The boy enjoys mail.  Kinda sad, that he has to wait till he leaves home to get some out of town mail.  So I went along with it.  I sloppily write out our address, as if I don't really care.  (Yes, I feel bad about that too.) 

I asked Dad if we could have a stamp.  He got us one.  I pointed to the correct corner upon which Ty stuck the sticker.  That was the last I knew of that.  It was going to surprise me if he was able to stay focused long enough to get that letter into the mailbox. 

Turns out he did.

Today I checked mail before picking up the kids from school.  This was in it:

In pen it says: "Return on Sunday" then in marker:  "Ellis at Gigi and Pop"  I'm guessing this was his return address?

I set the letter on the kitchen counter and wonder a little why it was so important to Ty to mail this picture to himself.

3:00 came and it was time to pick up the school kids.  We are driving home and talking about our days Ty says:

 "Oh!  I hope my snowman comes in the mail today!"

"It did Ty!"  I respond, trying to sound excited for him.  I mean, if the ad is important to him, it's important to me.

"Yaaaaaayyyyyyy!!!!  I can't wait to see my snowman!!!!"


  I know some of you are reading this and thinking, "Becca!  You are so dumb!  He thinks the snowman inflatable is coming, not the ad!!!"

Well, I'll have you know it was at this exact moment when I started thinking:  "I'll bet he thinks the snowman inflatable is coming, not the ad."

"Ty.  You KNOW that you mailed the piece of paper to our address, not the real snowman."

"No Mom, I ordered it.  I told them to send it to our house.  You and Dad said I could have it."  (remember the scene where he held up the Walgreens ad, but I was too concerned about myself to notice what he had "circled")  Yes.  I feel bad about that too.

Oh boy.

I explain best I can the process of ordering an item from a company.  I told him how you can call, go to the store or get on the internet, but you must first PAY for the item.  I explained that he simply sent the paper to our address and that the snowman isn't coming.  I might as well have told him "Santa doesn't care."

sigh.  It was sad.

We got home and as we pulled into the driveway I see that a package has come.  I very inconsiderately announce:  "Look we have a package on the front porch!"  (Yes, IFBATT)  Didn't occur to me that he was still holding out hope.  As soon as I pull into the garage Ty bursts out and runs to the front door.

I get Brady out then head over there as well.

"Ty what is it?"

A very small, disappointed voice answers me:  "It's just a saw."

We go into the house where his sadness was momentarily disturbed upon seeing the Christmas decorations I had spent the day putting up.

This boy just loves Christmas.  More than any of my other children, he loves the warmth and joy the season brings.  Twice today he told me:  "Mom, do you know what Christmas is really about?  It's about Jesus being born!"  I really don't think it's all about the things.  I think it's about what the things represent to him.

He walks into the kitchen, sets down his lunch box and sees the letter.  After tearing it open he stares at the paper and says: 

"Yep.  You were right.  It's just the paper."