This Christmas has been a difficult one for me. I remember around Thanksgiving I told my mentee, I hated the Christmas season. Not because I hate Christmas, but because I truly despise everything Christmas has become in our society.
At that time when I thought of Christmas, the image of people knocking each other over and physically fighting for the hottest gift of the season and amounting an excessive amount of credit card debit came to mind. I hate the commercialization of Christmas that has occurred; therefore, I simply made a decision not to participate in it.
In all honesty, I didn’t have money to splurge on gifts for everyone either, especially people who wouldn’t appreciate or felt as if I had to give them a gift. And pulling out the credit cards to do so was not even an option in my playbook…but then there was Cameron.
I remember my Christmases as a kid, and they were nothing less than magical. I remember the Christmas of 1988 in particular. On this particular Christmas, my sister and I got up at 5:30 am to a living room that resembled Toys ‘R Us. We had everything from the newest Barbie and her car to baby strollers, high chairs, and chalk boards. It was such a beautiful day.
I loved the way I felt on that Christmas and every other Christmas in my life. I firmly believe that every child deserves to feel the Christmas magic that I am so familiar with. Let’s be real, kids’ lives have gotten much more complicated than mine was in 1988. Most of them are unfortunately dealing with adult problems. Don’t they deserve a day to escape the reality of their situation and just enjoy, and even indulge in, the magic of Christmas?
That’s what I want for every kid. However, my son is a little different. This kid has absolutely everything a child could want and/or imagine. This is a kid who can walk through the mall, see a Wii, make a phone call, and have the money for it in 10 minutes. The logic behind it: he’s a good kid; he did good in school; get him the Wii.
Because he has so much stuff the logic in me tells me he doesn’t need another thing for Christmas. However, the emotion in me wants to see his face light up when he sees my den running over with toys and looking like a local toy store.
And in the midst of balancing my logic and emotionalism, I really have to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ!!! I know that’s not popular to say these days, but in trying to balance the commercialism of the season, have we really forgotten that the whole holiday is about Him choosing to give His life for us?
So in the midst of my internal battle this Christmas, I’ve been keeping my son focused on the fact that as cliché as it may be, Jesus is the real reason for the season. We’ve read the Christmas story in a couple different books in the Bible, and we’ve talked about the importance of giving to others during the Christmas season. I even took it a step further this year and begin to discuss with him why Jesus’ birth is so important.
Jesus came to the earth for one purpose: to die for you. Yes, if you had been the only person on the earth, Jesus still would’ve left His father’s side, entered into the earthly realm, suffered the criticism of the church, and died the horrendous death of the cross just for you. As important Jesus dying for all of humanity is, it’s just important for each of us to understand he did it for us individually.
The story of Jesus’ birth and death are in fact one. It is only because He came, lived, died, and rose again that we have the ability to talk to our heavenly Father through prayer. Without the blood of Jesus, we’re not even worthy to come before God in prayer—and can you imagine a life without prayer? I know I can’t. In addition, it would be impossible for us to enter eternal peace in heaven without Jesus. It is His blood that cleanses us from our sins and enables us to walk through the pearly gates.
I’m sure Cameron didn’t completely understand the concept of Jesus’ birth, but I’m positive he received a greater understanding, and I’m sure that he realizes Christmas is about more than Santa Clause. He actually gave Jesus a big Happy Birthday today without having to be reminded or briefed. That made me smile. That made me pleased.
This parenting thing is difficult, but at the end of the day, I think I came up with a pretty good solution. Before Christmas, Cameron pulled toys to give away to less fortunate children. For Christmas he received a nice portion of the things he wanted, but nothing excessive, and most importantly he learned something new about Jesus, and he understands that Jesus expects a gift on his birthday as well.