After a few weeks of holiday activities, things are getting back to normal today. Christmas break is a whole different level of crazy around our house. I say different because crazy is normal around here. This week was special not just because the kids are home from school. The summer does include time off school also, much to my dismay. (at times) It is just that this break has a unique combination of no school, increased sugar intake, and a decreased desire to be outdoors. I would be lying if I said I was disappointed my two older boys are off to school today.
Having confessed that, I do find that Christmas leaves an imprint on the lives of our children every year. This was so pronounced in my 5-year-old son that he actually got sad when we took the tree down yesterday. He said he wasn’t ready for it to be over yet. There is something magical about Christmas that is completely detached from the gifts. Christmas seems to emphasize what is really important. The funny thing is that these magical characteristics of this season are things we can do all year.
Time Spent Playing Games
The kids received a few games for Christmas this year, so we spent time playing them together. Remarkably, we enjoy doing this. The kids are getting older and want to play more board games. Why don’t we do it more often? We also had a night that we played Wii sports. It was a nice time for everyone, even the littlest ones who didn’t even play.
Time Spent Building Things Outside
In order to get the kids outside for longer than 20 minutes I had to join them in some ‘manly’ project. Since it did finally snow, I went outside and helped the boys build a snowman. Living where we do I know that snow is not something to count on for an activity. I do find that being outside with my kids is something that they love, no matter what we do. They want me to play football, baseball, go fishing with them, or dig in the yard with them for worms we will then take fishing. They want to show me insects and animals they have captured. This costs nothing and will pay dividends as we go forward.
Conversations About God
We talk about God all the time around the dinner table. Christmas does seem to allow for more relaxed conversation because I am not running off to some meeting in the evening. This year it has been even more that way because I have been working from a home office because of the church fire. One of the biggest conversations we have had has been about the church fire. What a perfect time to talk about the love of God for all people! My 5-year-old has been praying for this arsonist at dinner time. My 3 year old has been talking relentlessly about his burned nursery at our ‘broken church.’ Yesterday I had some music on at breakfast and the song ‘By Your Side’ by Tenth Avenue North came on. (video at the bottom) One of the boys said that the song reminded them of the church fire, a truly touchy thought to me. I love that because it shows they are piecing together what they know about God with the horrible event. This blows me away! I don’t want to miss opportunities like this because they are too important.
The Main Point
Every year I get annoyed with the way Christmas is marketed to us. I then pray that my children will get what it is all about in the midst of all the noise. When I asked what they were looking forward to, I received mixed messages of new toys and Jesus Christ. When I asked what they enjoyed the most, looking back, I was told that they like their presents and eating cake to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. As the discussion continued, I realized that what they really enjoyed more than anything else was the time we had together. Eating cake is no fun by yourself. Opening gifts is no fun if you don’t have someone to share them with. Celebrating a holiday about stuff is not nearly as exciting as celebrating the birth of a Savior- God with us!
When you think about it, it all comes down to the quality of relationships we have. It doesn’t need to be Christmas in order for us to place emphasis in the right things.
If we want to teach what is important, then we need to live what is important.