I think this is where I find Santa in all this. It's an opportunity for me to engage in my children's imaginations. If only for a few years, it will be delightful to whip up silly stories and fanciful tales about elves and reindeer and chimneys. Some might call me a liar. I call me a dreamer.
2) If I do my job right, there will be no confusion about Jesus & Santa. If I preach THE TRUTH about Jesus all year round, then what's the difference in December? There is no difference. We still celebrate Jesus in December just as we do in February and August. His miraculous and holy birth. His eternal gift of life. His grace and mercy. Definitely His mercy. It was only this morning that I pulled into our driveway and asked my children for forgiveness and we sat there, the van in park, praying and praising because God is merciful when I'm impatient and snippy and wretched. It's the week of Christmas and I'm as broken as ever. Santa might be able to deliver happiness in a wind-up toy, but only Jesus can deliver pure, undeserved joy.
In my world, we can sit on Santa's lap on Wednesday and walk through the life size nativity on Saturday. We can write a letter to the North Pole and paint a picture of the blessed nativity.
Jesus will always be the reason. The reason we breathe. The reason we love. The reason we celebrate. Santa and his shiny bells are nothing more than a fantasy that we bring to life. Jesus, He is our life. He is our heartbeat and our breath. Fantasy ain't got nothin' on our faith - our daily bread.
In a few short days, my minis will wake from their sugar-plum-filled visions to stockings full of trinkets delivered magically by a sleigh. And we will thank Jesus. Thank Him for blessing us with a loving home, warm beds, a full fridge, and precious dreams.
We are 13+ years away from the day Henry will declare his commitment to The Ohio State University, accepting a full athletic scholarship, thankyouverymuch. And I imagine that will be one of my proudest days as a Buckeye mom.
But even at 3 years old, my little Buckeye is already making his mother's scarlet and gray heart swell.
Remember Grandma Hollywood? The matriarch and queen bee of my family? Did I mention that twice a year she travels over 2000 miles from beautifully pleasant California to Grandma-really-likes-to-complain-about-the-weather Ohio - and she travels ALONE?! I know, I know, she's amazing.
It's one of my favorite words. Honestly, truly. Not because I like it phonetically or linguistically, but because I love what it means.
I love that we can be in a community and of a community and those two can look drastically different. I love that when I look out the window, into my community, I see my many neighbors and know that each of them represent hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different communities to which they belong.
I love that I live in a small Midwest American suburban community and yet feel strongly a part of an infinitely-enormous multi-cultural multi-ethnic multi-lingual eternal community.
Recently, we spent an evening with some folks who share both our physical community and our eternal community.
We live in a small condominium development that sits directly across the street from a large neighborhood of single family homes. The neighborhood is great, and in fact, it's on our list of neighborhoods we'd consider moving to if/when we sell our condo (Lord willing). I wouldn't say it's at the top of the list, but it's up there.
At least that was the case until recently.
Last month we gathered with five other families who live in that neighborhood. It just so happens that a handful of our friends from our church community live in the neighborhood-across-the-street. And it was this recent gathering of friends that made me yearn to live in their neighborhood.
There's something so special about spending the evening with dear friends who share so much - school, mayor, zip code, seasons, neighborhood association dues, floor plans, grocery store, church, and most importantly, Jesus.
I left there begging God to take away my covetous spirit - I have never wanted to move out of this condo and into a house so badly.
For now, I am thankful that these friends are kind enough to include us in their community. Though we don't technically live in the neighborhood, we are literally a stone's throw away. And for that I am so very blessed.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
I spent yesterday in fear.