Friday, 7 December 2007

A real post - the meaning of Christmas

OK, even though today is a total record breaking posting day for me, I haven't really posted anything other than pictures. So, here's a real post.

How do we teach our children the true meaning of Christmas? Truly teach it to them. I think we thoroughly confuse them.

We teach them that the meaning of Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth - our Lord and Saviour.

We teach them that He left heaven and exchanged the glories there for a human body here on earth - born in a stable, born to die for the sins of the world, for my sins, for their sins.

We teach them that Santa is not real, he's just pretend - like Cinderella.

We teach them that gifts are not the meaning of Christmas. That gifts are just a fun part of the celebration. That they need to appreciate the gift and the meaning behind it, even if it's not exactly what they wanted to get. That they shouldn't ask for "more". That they shouldn't just tear through the presents and lay them aside after a hurried "thank you" looking for the next one.

And then after we've talked the talk we completely fail to walk it - and they end up opening 100 presents each from us, their aunts & uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents.

What exactly are they supposed to think?

Every year I look at all the "stuff" our kids have gotten and wonder where on earth to put it all.

What is this "stuff" really teaching our kids? How are we supposed to teach them not to be materialistic in the midst of it all?

And yet, it's so fun watching them open their gifts! I love to buy them things and watch them open it. But at what expense? Will the price be higher than we should be willing to pay?

Or is it no big deal? Maybe I'm overreacting/overthinking/overanalizing, I don't know.

We definitely do things to combat the materialism. We always do the Samaritan's purse Christmas shoe boxes, and they each help pack a box for a girl their age. We sponsor a child, provide an extra Christmas gift, as well as an extra Family gift once/year. They love to write Jonathan letters and draw pictures for him. We talk about how little he has and how he can't afford to do the same things we do - like go to restaurants or hotel trips, and that he doesn't even always have enough to eat. We sponsor missionaries in India and pray for them and Jonathan every day.

Is the Christmas gift overload cancelling out all of that? Or is it not really that bad?

I'd like to come up with more traditions that focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

I have heard of a great idea recently - to buy 3 (or 4) gifts per child and that's it. One thing they need (like clothes), one thing they want (toy) and a book and/or a game.

I think that's a great idea - until I see x in the store and know how much the girls would like it and cave and buy yet another present. Maybe next year.

I'm not meaning for this to sound so depressing. I LOVE Christmas. I love decorating (our tree went up November 25 already), I love listening to Christmas music, I love the lights, I love the Christmas programs and I love watching our kids open their gifts. Everything (especially when it comes to gifts) in moderation is the key I think.


Andrea said...

Hey -- I just told Joelle the exact same thing about Santa Claus the other day...that he's just a story, JUST LIKE CINDERELLA!!

ValleyGirl said...

How does one truly LIVE and demonstrate the meaning of Christmas to children? I don't want to not get the girls anything and yet, I've considered the idea of packing up some of the bazillion toys they have that they never play with anymore (ones still in perfect condition, of course) and giving them away for Christmas instead of getting them something. I know they'll get plenty from other sources!

And that's another part of the issue: how can you shield your kids from commercialism when they'll be getting a truckload of stuff from aunts, uncles, grandparents, school friends, and Sunday school teachers? The kids are going to get presents -- it's beyond our control -- and they're going to LOVE getting presents (that's a given because we're all born greedy!!)....

Sigh. I obviously don't know how to handle this either!


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