Christmas can be a confusing time of year for Christians. Like, we love the Lord and we want to honor him, and we want to give good gifts to our kids, and actually, if you MUST buy me a gift, then there’s some stuff I could use. But then there’s Santa (ahhh!?), materialism (aaaaah-yikes!), consumerism (ugh ahh!), and the potential for spoiling our kids who already have everything they need, so why-are-we-buying-them-all-this-junk-anyway? SO many emojis.
I would say 50% of the moms I know have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. And the other 50% have a hate-hate relationship with it. This is very scientific. Should you choose to share this statistic, I expect you to cite me as a source. My friends love Jesus and the miracle of God becoming man, but the American-Santa thing is the part they struggle with. They (WE) want our kids to know what ACTUALLY matters. We want them to love Jesus, we don’t want them to just love his stuff. And we want God’s day to be about God, not usurped by man’s consumerism. This is legit. It just leaves us unsure how to behave around Christmas.
Let me tell you a little secret that I *think* should set most of us free in one way or another! See, I used to kinda think Jesus and Santa were in competition. In fact I actually WROTE a blog post entitled “Jesus is Better than Santa.” Silly me. Why in the world was I (are we) comparing Jesus and Santa? That’s insane! They aren’t in the same category. Jesus is not the least bit offended by Santa. Actually, if Santa was real, I think Jesus would probably like him. (Just a guess, don’t take that to the bank.) So number one, we don’t really have to be afraid of Santa.
Full disclosure. My family doesn’t “do” Santa, and we have told our kids 100 times that it’s just a fairy tale, but Henry is STILL asking if Santa is real. Maybe one day we will do Santa, but I don’t think we will ever pretend like he’s real and we will never use him as a way to get our kids to behave. (Wait, I take that back- I’m not above that.) But if you do pretend like he’s real, that’s fine!! Okay, moving on.
Here’s another little secret I think will help with Christmas. We don’t have to be afraid of spoiling our kids! (say whaaaaaaaaaaa?) I said it. I think this part is a bigger deal than Santa, at least in my immediate circle. Nobody wants bratty little kids who get everything that they want! Ugh. Those are the worst kids and they turn into the worst adults. But as I was thinking this through, I realized something- I am spoiled! My God spoils me every single day of my life. Oh, and it’s not because I’m good. But it doesn’t make me BAD. He wouldn’t let it.
People like to say, “God doesn’t give you everything you want but he gives you everything you need.” Okay it’s true, but for most people that makes us feel like God doesn’t care a two-pence about what we want. (I said two-pence to be like C.S. Lewis.) Well that’s just not true y’all. God cares about what we want! He already gave you everything you need- Jesus Christ on the cross, alive, and inside of you. He could have stopped there. But now Ephesians 2 tells us that his plan for the rest of eternity is to show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards you who are in Jesus.
No, he doesn’t give me everything I want, per say, and he is faithful to discipline like a loving Father always is. But when I ask for something he doesn’t just give me what I ask for- he gives me a heaping bowl of grace, and the gift that I asked for is like the cherry on top. Then I realize that the grace is what I wanted all along – not the thing I asked for, whether I get it or not.
Most people reading this have an education, a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat, friends to love. We are spoiled. But most of us are also suffering in some way, shape, or form. We have health problems, death in our families, hormonal imbalances, financial stress, relational strain. We are spoiled and disciplined at the same time by a Father who knows best.
Be like your Father! Spoil your kids – give them your time, give them your heart, give them your attention, give them the gospel, and for crying out loud, if they ask for a remote control car, don’t be afraid to give them that too.