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some thoughts on the season

for many reasons, our family has decided not to incorporate santa into our christmas celebrations.  this has been a personal decision for us and definitely not one that we would prescribe as the best for everyone; it just makes sense for our family.

for me, the most compelling reasons to sidestep santa include the fact that santa (in theory more than practice) comes to kids who 'earn' his gifts by being good, and that he very rarely comes to poor families.  essentially, santa rewards decent, affluent kids and overlooks those who are needy, weak and disadvantaged.  this is the opposite of god's heart for us!

to further confuse things, i think it's difficult for kids to fully separate a kindly, fatherly, omnipresent, invisible, gift-giving santa from a truly loving, omnipotent, invisible Father who sends good gifts from heaven...it sounds like kind of the same thing to me, too, so i can't really blame them.  the problem is what i mentioned above - that the character and heart of god toward us as children is entirely separate from the motivation of santa, but because of our society's spotlight on santa at this time of year, the true character of god can get overlooked or wrongly imposed upon.

so, all that to say, we're baby-stepping our way to trying to understand and fully celebrate the true heart of the season.  we're by no means perfect at it, nor do we presume that our way is the only right way.  but i would like to share with you one avenue we're pursuing as a family to get closer to the heart of god this advent and christmas season.

we have decided to start a family tradition of using part of our gift-giving fund for one another to buy items from the world vision catalog.  there are so many different ways you can include others around the world in your personal christmas celebration this year!!  from seeds and farm animals, to education for women, to orphan care, to houses for single mothers and their families...it's almost hard to limit yourself from wanting to buy everything in there!

in addition, in order to provide something tangible for our kids to open, as well as a reminder of what all we've given in years past (god in his word is constantly telling us to remember his work in our lives), we've purchased handmade ornaments from the local fair trade shop.  not only does this gift help someone else by providing them a fair wage for their work, but it will help us remember every year god's work in the life of our family as we have the opportunity to unwrap each ornament and hang it on the tree.  plus, can i just say they look awesome?

i tried to pick gifts from the catalog that correspond with our personal interests or life stages.  for todd, who really loves digging into god's word, we gave children bibles in their own language.  for atticus, we donated soccer balls to schools in africa because, well, atticus likes soccer balls.  for penelope, we gave care for an orphan because every single day i am so grateful that i am getting to see her grow.  and for me, todd chose to donate chickens because there are a few things that are pretty set in my mind as something i'd like to have someday, and chickens make that list.  (i'm a pretty simple gal like that.)
i don't say all this because i'm trying to gain anything from it; i'm just saying that there are so many personal ways you can give to others that provide a radical blessing to them and their families.  you can participate in the heart of god!  and that's really what christmas is all about - an invitation to join in god's mission of coming to give himself away for us.

2 comments :

The Grout Family said...

we're doing the same thing (not incorporating Santa). i'm glad we're not the only ones!! people think we're crazy when i tell them that we're going to tell our kids the real meaning of Christmas and tell them the Santa isn't a real person. It's just what we believe! I know some people do both, but we decided as a family Santa isn't going be be apart of our Christmas celebration! I never thought of with 'santa' you only receive gifts if you're good in the Christian principle! Thanks for pointing that out! :o)
i also like your idea of give part of your budget back out into the world to help those in need! fab idea!

Saved by grace said...

Amen!

We are not doing santa for the very same reason. Our families don't quite understand but that's okay. And we are really trying to make it all about Jesus. We want to throw Him an awesome birthday party every year!

P.S. I have recently started blog-stalking you...I hope you don't mind!