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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Face of Christmas

RE-EDIT: Something happened and I am missing a paragraph or two in the middle of my post.  I have filled in a brief explanation so that it makes sense.  Sorry!

(Dated December 18th, 2011)

Dear Sister,

I am losing courage.  I must say your positive reaction helped me the other day, but I've never had Christmas without Santa before.  I want to go Santa-free, but like I say, I'm starting to wimp out.  This of course bothers me, because you know that I hate to do anything because I am forced to.  I don't want to go through the Santa motions just to be like everyone else, especially after I've decided that he's not welcome here this year.

Everyday that gets closer to Christmas, I keep thinking of all of the Santa songs that I love and what about reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas"?  On the one hand I didn't think this all through, though on the other, I know it's completely what I want to do.  Husband is completely on-board with everything, so that's not part of the problem at all.  When you do something the same way all your life, it's tough to know how to make a new tradition (especially when you know it's not a popular idea).  I don't know anyone who is Santa-free, so I can't ask for help or for support.

I also need some new ideas.  When we last talked, I was still okay with Santa, just not this year, for the reasons that we've already discussed.  Well, it all changed for me and now I am looking at a more permanent ban.  One day I was just walking around my house (mulling this over I guess) and it came to me:

"Who is the face of Christmas?"

The first face that popped into my mind was that of Santa, and not of Jesus Christ, I am sad to say.  Later I asked Husband the same question:

"Who is the face of Christmas?"

He said that the first thing that came to his mind also was Santa first.

I'm not mad at Santa.  I'm mad at the world for creating an alternative holiday to the celebration of our Savior and Redeemer.  It is CHRISTmas after all.

WHAT DO I DO?

Let's recap.

Daughter thinks Santa is a fun character similar to Mickey Mouse.  She sat on his lap twice already this year, but only talked to him briefly.  She knows nothing of "asking for presents", or that he brings things (presents, fills your stockings, etc.) in the middle of night and you get to wake up to these surprises.

When we put out our Christmas paraphernalia the only things that had Santa on them were the stockings.  Like I said, I only hung them for about 10 minutes because I felt like they were chasing away the special spirit in our home.  When I took them off the wall, Daughter yells out, "Put back those socks!!!" (She seriously knows nothing about Santa for real, they're called "Stockings" honey).  I had no idea it would be so easy to eliminate Santa, because I guess he never really came.  We do own a Santa hat which is ridiculously cute on Daughter, but I'll let it pass for caroling purposes.  Who wears biblical clothing while caroling?  Yeah, still working this all out.

I cannot in good conscience introduce Santa to Daughter this year.  We've done it every year that she's been alive, but I can tell that this is the first year that will leave a serious impression on her.  I know we've taught her about Jesus Christ and His gospel as well, but how can I be the one to defile her little pure spirit?

When she sees a cross she'll say "Look Mom and Dad, a cross, that's for Jesus.  He died for me."

We attended a live nativity this year put on by another church.  To depict the angels appearing to the shepherds they have people dressed in white clothing hiding in a tree house.  At an appointed moment, they flood them with light and they sing "Gloria".  The next day when I was playing "Angels We Have Heard on High" on the piano, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Daughter was holding up the angels out of her nativity set like the live nativity and was singing along.  It is now her favorite song.

Daughter loves all of the Christmas hymns, especially "Joy to the World", "Away in a Manger",  and "The First Noel".  It is true that she also says "Jingle Bell Rock" is one of her favorites (but did you know that it doesn't mention Santa anywhere in it?!)  We are practicing to go caroling.  I am SO excited to make it a reality, because we've been hyping it up for awhile to her and she's been practicing a ton!

At our church's nativity exhibit, we spent hours looking at the nativities and in the children's room.  She also enjoyed the cantata performance.  She begged for some "Mary clothes" and is now the proud owner of them.  We also bought her a plastic nativity set for her to play with this year.  We got it back in November even, because I knew it was the first thing that I wanted to present to her about Christmas.  I had told her that it was Christmastime after Thanksgiving, so I wanted to be prepared with the right kind of Christmas stuff.  I didn't want her to break my little nativity from mom.  I think it's resin, but it's irresistible to little hands (including my own).

She loves the symbols of Christmas.  We have done them near daily since the Family Home Evening lesson where we originally presented them to her.  After hearing it once she was repeating them back to us.  My favorite is when she'll take a candy cane pretending to be the shepherd's staff and then try to put it around the little sheep's neck saying "Come back, come back" to represent the Good Shepherd going after His sheep.

[Lost Portion: I had a paragraph explaining that I was going to make a countdown for my Daughter.  The idea was to make 24 ornaments that each had a name of Christ written on them.  I think I also said that I was behind and didn't do it as a countdown, but just as a single activity.  I was also lamenting that the ornaments were very plain and not as fancy as the original examples that I had seen on the internet.]

As I wrote each one we talked about them.  Then we listened to the Messiah and pointed out when we heard His names (Wonderful, Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, etc).  I already loved the Messiah, but enjoying it with a 3 year old was just awesome!  The new missionary didn't believe that she would actually like it (obviously he doesn't know us very well yet).  Husband and I had made our list in advance.  It was really hard to choose only 24 and since Daughter was LOVING it, we went back and bought another box, so now we have 36.  I didn't want to decorate our tree until we had done the names of Christ ornaments, so our tree was empty for a week.  I loved the simplicity of our Christmas decorations.  Then after Daughter and I made them I told her that she could put them up when Dad got home.  Well, she wasted no time and put them on while we made dinner without hooks or anything.  It was really cute.  Then a few more days went by before I pulled out the rest of the ornaments and we finished decorating the tree.

This has been my Christmas worship thus far, and I have loved it!!!  It has been so calm and peaceful and focused on the "real reason of the season".  I know I'm in a unique situation in that Daughter hasn't attended school yet, so I have had the opportunity to shape her without outside influences, but isn't that my job?  To teach her?  Isn't it my job to teach her that Jesus Christ is the "face of Christmas"?  Or am I really "robbing her of her childhood" as some would say?

Don't ostracize me.  You can think I'm weird, but after typing all of this, I'm remembering why I started thinking about eliminating him.  I guess my bottom line is: Every minute spent on Santa is a minute away from Jesus Christ. I'll live without Santa and Rudolph, though I have no problem with anyone else choosing to make him a part of their celebrations.

Much love and appreciation of your listening ear,
Lindsay

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