Now let's talk Christmas.
I don't make any assumptions about what anyone else grew up thinking, feeling, or experiencing at Christmas. I only know my own experiences. But I do have a pretty good idea that the Mayfield family Christmas was a pretty fair representation of most families habits on the morning of December 25th. I remember as a kid spending weeks (if not months) making out the "Wish List". I recall being fed some particular lie (excuse me, false truth) about someone who "sees me when I'm sleeping" - which now horribly creeps me out - and who watches my every move, checking off some imaginary list, coaxing & persuading me to be on my best behavior so that ultimately I could get everything I want. READING the truth - seeing this in print - makes it sound a whole lot worse than it felt back then. The truth stings sometimes.
As I've been forced to re-examine the heartbeat of this season - and my own heart for that matter - I keep finding myself going back to some painful words of exhortation found in 1 John 2:15-17. John wrote, "Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever."
Understanding now that as a child you are already tempted to think that the world revolves around you and that you are somehow entitled to receive everything on your magic "wish list", is it not horrible and sickening irony that the very day that we are meant to celebrate Christ coming into this world to redeem it (and us) from self-destruction is now the pinnacle of promoting and advocating the "lust for everything we see"? Do we realize as parents - as the people of God - that if we're not careful we will lead our children into a lifestyle of lust? We can begin to teach them to crave the very things that are fading away?
Think I'm being too critical? Think I'm blowing this out of proportion?
I'm 36 years old. I'm a pastor. I'm still recovering from this mindset and mentality.
If CHRISTmas is about CHRIST - and it is - then let's make it about CHRIST.
If you're scared to let go of Santa...if you think he's going to be offended or his feelings or going to be hurt...make sure that you understand that the real Saint Nicholas would probably vomit all over his white beard if he saw what we have turned him into. The great coaxer and persuader of pointless moral behavior.
Yes...it felt weird. But we told our kids the truth. And don't worry, they won't ruin it for your kids! Well, I take that back. If telling someone the truth - that Christmas is all about the One who came to pursue us, redeem us, love us, and save us - that Christmas is all about us shining the LIGHT of CHRIST to a dark world - if that would ruin Christmas....then I hope your Christmas is being ruined as we speak!