Monday, December 21, 2015

MM: Season of Giving

We've been focusing a lot recently on why we give gifts at Christmas.

It's been really important to Grig and I that Kevin understands the purpose of Christmas. We really want him to know that it is supposed to be about Christ.
A portrait of Christ in a red robe against a gray background, looking out toward the viewer.
Don't get me wrong, I love Santa Claus. I think the whole tradition is a lot of fun and it's one of the things that I really look forward to at Christmas. I even dreamed that it was Christmas Eve last night and we were getting ready for everything.

However, I have also been realizing that it's up to us to make Christmas non-commercialized in our home. I never really felt like Christmas was all that commercialized. My parents didn't focus on Santa that much, and when Christmas came we were excited about our presents, but there were a lot of Christ-centered traditions that we also looked forward to and loved.

Christmas was about family and about the birth of our Savior. Each Christmas Eve we acted out the Nativity and read the story from the Bible. I loved playing the donkey and letting Mary ride on my back. (Usually a younger sibling played Mary.)

We would also read the story and place the pieces of my parents' olive wood Nativity set up on a shelf as we talked about each character. It was beautiful, and we always waited to put baby Jesus in the manger until Christmas Eve.

Grig and I are still new at this whole marriage business, and we're still figuring out our own traditions. This year has been especially exciting for me, because Kevin is really starting to understand what Christmas is all about and what is going to happen.

With that increased understanding, have come increased opportunities for teaching. We've been trying really hard to explain the reason that Santa Claus brings gifts on Christmas. We've tried to stress that we give and receive gifts on Christmas because the wise men gave gifts to the Savior, and the Savior himself was the greatest gift that we've ever received.

I don't know how much Kevin understands, but I know as we keep trying to help him understand that Santa is a symbol of Christ, that our home will be filled with the right kind of spirit each Christmas.

Speaking of the man in the red suit, Kevin went to visit him tonight. He was so excited to see him...until he actually saw him. Suddenly, he didn't want to let go of my leg. We did make him take a picture, but he wasn't very happy about it.
Poor Kevin. We've probably traumatized him for life. 

Santa was a good sport, and afterwards, Kevin thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas. It ended up being a good experience.

It did make me think a bit however. I was thinking about how Kevin would have reacted if Christ had been sitting there instead of Santa. I really think that if it had been Christ sitting there, that Kevin wouldn't have been scared. I think he would have ran right up to him and climbed on his knee. I hope that I would also not be frightened or guilt-ridden, but that I would want to run up to him and hug him, or even just sit next to him and listen to him.

As the Christmas season has been upon us, I've really been trying to focus my studies on Christ. I feel like I don't know Him as well as I want to. I believe in Him, and I know with all my heart that He lives, but I don't feel as close to Him as I want to. I'm trying to rectify that.

The other night, someone rang our doorbell. We went to answer it, and we found that no one was there, but someone had left of box of food on our porch.

I have no idea who did that, but I feel so grateful to them. We aren't starving, and we've been blessed abundantly this holiday, but it means the world that someone thought about our family and wanted to do something nice for us. It really made me grateful for the wonderful area that we live in, and for the incredible people we know.

I know that Christmas can be about our Savior. I know that as we try to emulate Him this holiday season, that the spirit of Christ was permeate our homes and bring peace to our souls. I know that as we look for ways to serve others, that we will become more like Christ, and will be able to help others find peace and joy in their hearts as well.

Merry Christmas!

May you each have the kind of holiday that will give you pleasant memories for years to come.

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