Friday, December 6, 2013

Is Santa Real? We're in a pickle it seems... as we say here in Texas

So it's exactly 19 days till Christmas and I have a tree with no lights or decorations and not a single gift bought.  And we're iced in and going nowhere  - housebound with a scared dog and a grumpy 13 year old.  Trees are falling all around us and a power surge blasted the XBOX.  Maybe that's what the kids will get this year for Christmas.  Thank you Jesus for online shopping.  

And yesterday, Kid 3, my 10 year old, asked me in the car... all alone... on potentially dangerous icy streets so I couldn't make an emergency stop at the grocery store or anything.... is Santa real

I was the oldest kid in the history of mankind to see the real Santa.  For who he really is.  Because no one ever properly introduced me.  And he still kept coming each year, but he quit leaving actual presents.  Just a $100 bill in my stocking each time.  And when I figured out maybe it didn't come all the way from the North Pole, I didn't say anything because, heck, it was $100 to just keep quiet.  Maybe that's what I should do with my boys.

The oldest one knows the real Santa.  And he knows Santa is a top secret spy kind of guy.  So Kid 1's not talking because he still wants presents.  And the middle guy pretty much knows because his worldly best friend told him something akin to truth way the heck back in elementary school.  But Kid 2 has both a believing heart and a hopeful heart.  And a thankful heart for sure.  So no matter where the gifts come from, he is a delight to parents everywhere.  I need to online order more kids like him for Christmas.

And Kid 3, who asks me all the time if the tooth fairy is me - is still willing to pull out teeth with no hesitation for some fast cash.  But the tooth fairy keeps forgetting to leave the money under his pillow and has just started leaving it on the kitchen counter to be given out at breakfast.  She may even just tell him next time to go pull a dollar out of her wallet. 

But the question of Santa.  I debated about even bringing Santa into our celebrations when the kids were little. But I decided it's just what parents do.  As Christians we have always taught that the real reason of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ.  But it wasn't the baby Jesus leaving all those toys under the tree, so no wonder my kids wait and wait for Santa.  And start their list making early.  So did we compromise to bring a little extra joy to the kids? And Santa brings tons of joy  - till it gets complicated. Kid 3 has decided that if he wants something too big for mommy and daddy to give, he'll just ask Santa for it.  Like maybe a new car.  Or a trip to Hawaii. Which I totally wish Santa would bring.  And make it for 5 people please.   But now he  thinks he can just ask for anything and it will be given because it's been given in the past.  And his desires grow larger.  So we're in a pickle it seems, as we say here in Texas. 

So here's what I managed to tell the kid yesterday when he asked me about the big guy. Santa.  Not Jesus.  My answer, however, revolved around Jesus.  And I'm not entirely sure I answered his question.  So he's gonna come around with it again. And I'll be looking for his daddy. 

St Nicholas is the history of Santa.  The Santa we know and visit is the St Nicholas of history that loved God very much.  And he shared this love with others by surprising them with gifts.  Secret gifts.  (Nicholas was born to Christian parents who left him an inheritance when they died, which he then gave to the poor. He became a priest at a young age and was well-known for his compassion and generosity. He had a reputation for giving gifts anonymously, and he would throw bags of money into people's homes - and sometimes down their chimneys - under the cover of night to avoid being spotted.  See the resemblance to our popular Santa?)

So I told Kid 3 that St Nicholas gave to others because we were given the greatest gift of all, the gift of God's son at Christmas time.  And that's why we give to each other at Christmas.  Because God gave to us.  And because those that loved and celebrated the birth of Jesus gave gifts of thought and time and consideration to show their appreciation and love.  Just like Santa. 

And then I stuck in something about how we may or may not believe Santa is a real man that comes down our chimney and leaves us gifts, but that the spirit of giving is in our hearts.  And that we can be Santa to those that we love. 

So did I answer the kid's question or should I prepare and read up getting ready for round 2 ?  A friend of mine told me that her mother promised to pay for her first 10 hours of therapy as an adult, knowing she is responsible for at least that much damage.  But any additional hours beyond the first 10, mom told her, .... you did to yourself

So for Christmas.... maybe I'll put that $100 dollar bill in my kids' stockings with investment advice to save up for counseling.   

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