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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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day

This was the view out our window this morning.

So we opted to stay home (especially since I've been delaying the inevitable switch over to snow tires).

The kids and I reveled in the luxury of a lazy day with no demands, no long lists of things to be done. We listened to Christmas carols and addressed Christmas cards. We made a cake. We snuggled together and took a nap.

It was an unexpected break from a hectic week, nature's way of telling us to slow down -- that even at this busy time of year, we can afford a bit of time to relax.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seeing Christmas

"I want to see Christmas."

This is Luke's way of saying that he wants to see more Christmas decorations as we're driving home. Or, that he wants our Christmas tree lights turned on.

Ashley, ever the big sister, was very happy to tell him that he wasn't seeing "Christmas" because Christmas is a day and you can't see it.

But after several discussions about how Christmas means different things to different people, she has now joined Luke in "seeing Christmas" in a variety of settings. And it's made me think about all the places and all the ways that I see Christmas:
  • The first snowfall and watching the joy of my children as they run through the new snow.
  • When Ashley helps Luke get his breakfast in the mornings.
  • In Luke and Ashley's renditions of Christmas songs.
  • Watching the young moms I work with as they strive to overcome barriers to make life better for themselves and their children.
  • In the early morning snuggles and cuddles with the kids before the alarm goes off (or after we've hit the snooze button for "just a few more minutes" before we get up to face the day)
  • When Luke offers popcorn (his very favorite snack) to Ashley (without any prompting).
  • In the smiles and giggles of children as they sit in the lap of Santa.
  • When my daughter insists that we put money in the Salvation Army kettle "because it's for people who don't get to have Christmas like us."

Where do you find Christmas?

This post is shared on ChristmasChange.

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See other great blogs about finding the real meaning of Christmas.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009


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