We went out after dark this past weekend. I guess that is not as dramatic as it sounds seeing as it gets dark at like 4:30. But still it is a big deal to take the family out to dinner and then to a store. The two older boys needed shoes and the younger two needed nothing. So we needed to divide and conquer. I figured since my idea of shoe shopping is not doing it, I would let my wife take care of the shoes and I would chase the other two through the store. It turned into a game of follow the leader.
It was actually quite funny because these two had no agenda. They just wanted to walk the perimeter and see what they saw. They would look at me and say “come on dad.” I followed along and tried to prevent anything from falling off shelves. My daughter would stop and check on random things saying, “oh, cute” as she touched them. Someone had a cart full of baby stuff and she climbed up the side of it and admired their things. When the couple looked at her she said, “hi, I am Claire, this is Siah (Josiah) and that’s daddy.” Then we were off. Kids have a way of finding the toys and so we ended up there.
This is where it became so fun for me to watch. They touched all of the toys and pushed all the buttons. I actually did too. But I loved their enthusiasm as they took things off the shelf and said, “oh, cool” and quickly went to show the other one. They did not ask me to buy anything. They were just excited to be touching toys that they don’t own. It was actually quite the sight. I loved it because they were so simple about it. Everything was amazing, even the toys that I know will break in 30 seconds. They loved them all and had such wonder about it. It was such a calm moment that I stopped to thank God for it. There was no chaos. There was no rushing. There was just enjoying the moment together.
Christmas brings that out of adults too, but it is usually stifled by stress. I know so many people will talk about what it means to enjoy Christmas and remember the birth of Jesus, but the honest truth is that so many people still get roped into the consumer driven Christmas. It is sad, really, because there is so much more to it than presents and credit card debt. Kids teach us things like that as they run around in the dirt or build things out of snow. They show us how this whole “enjoying of life” thing works when they walk through a store with no agenda and showing kindness to random people. (some of them ignoring her) Kids are learning too many negative things from the adult world surrounding Christmas. I think it is time we stop and follow them around for a while. It will give perspective and it will make you get your hands full of paint. It will make you slow down and appreciate an early morning. But, I believe it will also bring back a little of that sparkle that is missing in so many today.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas and find that the celebration brings joy, not stress.