Since the Santa post earlier this week, I have wrapped up buying for the kids. It would be fiction to pretend I abandoned all materialism and consumer temptations--but I did think and pray about things a lot more than usual. That's progress, right?
As I was finalizing preparations for the kids I started asking God to show me what the wrestling match over Christmas morning was really about in my heart. I came to the realization that while a large measure of my motivation is simply that it is fun to give good gifts to our children, there is another less flattering aspect.
This year, my husband and I have commented several times that, "We don't know how many more Santa Christmases we'll have." It seems to play into one of the challenges we have in raising all our same-aged children at once. We live in the knowledge that this is our only shot and operate out of a mentality of 'making it count.' While remembering to seize the day is usually a philosophy to which I would ascribe, I am realizing that we've allowed some fear & control issues to creep in.
We know inherently that as children age, innocence is lost. Reality comes crashing in. People get disappointed. Life gets hard. Hearts are broken. But now, at eight, we have the illusion of control over what our children experience. We can make magic--especially in this season of elves, Santa & flying reindeer.
It is a window that seems to be closing faster by the day...which leads to our fear.
These are the days our children will look back upon. This is their fleeting chapter called childhood. And like us, they will overly romanticize the role 'Christmas morning' played in all of it. It is one day of 365 in each year.
I really don't mean to negate all of the playful, exciting parts of the season. Frankly, we had a precious time visiting with Santa this afternoon. I just want to keep it all in perspective.
The bottom line God keeps reminding me of is this: Giving good gifts to our children is not confined to Christmas morning. Wracking up bills once a year for soon forgotten toys doesn't make you a good parent. Anyone with a credit line can do that. The gifts that will serve them most of all are the ones we give through our sacrifice and love all year through:
Pointing them towards the Lord.
Pursuing strong marriages.
Teaching them to love wisdom.
Being a part of community.
Modeling love for our neighbors.
These gifts aren't always fun to give and they don't come topped with shiny bows, but they are lasting & priceless.