It’s Christmas time! Already! Can you even believe it? I mean where did 2014 even go?? Now that thanksgiving is over, it’s time for the Elf on the Shelf to make his grand appearance. Yes, my children believe in Santa, elves and all of the Christmas magic. But our Santa loves Jesus, and my children know that Jesus’ birth – God’s greatest gift of Love – is the reason for the season! Our Santa brings each of them three gifts on Christmas Eve night. And they’re OK with that! They know that Jesus received three gifts on His birth day, and they’ve never once complained about only getting three gifts.
Last year, I tried something a little different. In an effort to teach the kids about forgiveness and God’s grace, we had a naughty elf. He would make messes and get himself into trouble (the kids got a big kick out of it), but he knew that no matter what, God loved him. This year, Santa mailed the following letter to the kids, along with a “new” elf, Dash.
(I found free Santa stationary on this website.)
“Dear Cole and Jenna,
I know you are excited about the Christmas season. I am too! It is a lot of fun to look at Christmas lights, sing Christmas songs, set up the Christmas tree and wrap gifts. My elves are working hard to prepare for Christmas day.
Speaking of elves, I have sent one of my dearest friends, Dash, to help you prepare for Christmas. There are some very important things that I want you to remember:
* It is better to give than to receive. This Christmas, I want you to give to others that do not have as much as you.
* God loves you so very much. Whether you are nice or naughty, God always loves you!
* The reason we celebrate Christmas is to rejoice in God’s greatest gift of Love – the birth of his son Jesus.
* When you have Jesus in your heart, others can see it through your actions of giving and being kind to others.
Dash will help you to learn and remember these very important things. It is our job to show God’s love to others through our gifts, nice words, and being kind to others! Every night Dash will come visit me to tell me how nice you’ve been. Sometimes he can get himself in trouble, so keep an eye on him! I will send special assignments back with him for you to help me complete. Please take care of my friend, and together, you will learn the true meaning of Christmas.
I would really love to instill a selfless attitude in my children, not only during Christmas time, but all year round. And that’s so hard to do when they’re six and seven years old. My oldest said today, “I wish it were Christmas everyday so that we can get PRESENTS!!” I don’t blame them. I get it, I really do. But I want to do the best that I can as a parent to help them have giving hearts at a young age that will develop into servant hood as they grow older.
Some special assignment missions that Santa might send with the elf this month are:
– donating toys to Salvation Army
– buying wish list items for the Mustard Seed Home
– making cards for elderly family members
– gifting neighbors with handmade goodies
– picking out items from the World Vision catalog to give in our family members’ names
** in lieu of buying needless gifts for family this year, we’re gifting other families in
true need in our families’ names!
And I’m excited to start a new tradition of reading Ann Voskamp’s “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas” and making a Jesse Tree starting December 1. I loved her previous books and can’t wait to read this one as a family!
How are you sharing the true meaning of Christmas with your children this year? I’d love to hear!