Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Lessons

It's hard to teach the real meaning of Christmas to children -- especially to a 2 and a 5 year old.

In our house, we have lots of talk about Santa Claus and opening presents. Ashley seems to have the never-ending list of all the things she hopes she gets for Christmas. Luke is fascinated by decorations -- ours and those he sees as we're out driving.

We also try to have some conversation about why we celebrate Christmas. We're doing a nightly Advent meditation and prayer. And we talk about how Christmas is Jesus' birthday (which does excite my kids, especially Luke, but I think only because they associate birthdays with presents and cake).

So today I was pleasantly surprised when Ashley brought me her latest Play Doh creation.

It's the baby Jesus in his manger. And she told me the story of how Jesus was born in the manger because there was no room anywhere else.

Then she added some hay (the yellow around the manger) and a star (the blue on baby Jesus' chest).

Then she added a snail to be one of the animals watching over the baby. And even though I've somehow missed the story of the snail in the manager, that doesn't mean there wasn't one there. Then she added the gold for his present (along with a pink star in the center).

At this point, I was feeling pretty proud. She has been listening to the stories she hears from us and in Sunday School. And even though she can manage to display rampant materialism on a regular basis, maybe, just maybe, she's understanding a little bit of the real Christmas story, too.

Of course, then she added a volcano to her manager scene. But, I'm still hoping a little bit of the true meaning of Christmas is sinking in.

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