As Christmas approaches I find that I miss the snow and lights of Maryland. A friend lives up on a mountain and we’d regularly visit for movie nights, BBQ’s, or just to hang out. On the way was a farmhouse set back from the road that every year went completely overboard with the Christmas lights. (You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_Eo8wfhorA). Every time we drove past I could feel the magic of christmas in the air – whether there was snow on the ground or not.
Of course Christmas is especially magical for children who believe in Father Christmas. This jolly old red suited saint embodies the spirit of Christmas for children and it’s wonderful to see the joy he brings.
This year my nephew has come to an age where the news needs to be broken to him that Father Christmas is not real. My sister in law asked me how I would break the news to him. This is what I suggested:
You’re old enough now to understand who Father Christmas is. He’s not a man in a red suit who lives at the north pole, he is an expression of the love that people have for eachother. Father Christmas is not just one person, he is every person who believes in Christmas.
Children can’t understand the way love works so we explain the fun, laughter, joy, and generosity of the season with a story. It’s a story that is made up – but helps to explain something that’s difficult to understand. Every time one person shows someone else that they care they are a part of Father Christmas. Every gift that is shared, that a parent buys for their children, or each other, is a gift of Father Christmas.
Father christmas is the invisible love that lives inside each of us, and believing in Father Christmas helps children to experience what that love is like in a way they can understand. You’re old enough now to become a part of the secret, became Father Christmas to those around you. You can buy gifts for those that you love to show them that you care, and you will find that Father Christmas lives inside you too.
He’s not been brought up in a religious family so stories about Jesus would make the transition even harder. My hope is that next year we’ll be able to have a talk about the meaning of the Christmas story and who Jesus is. We can talk about God’s expression of love in the world and how we can connect with that Spirit. We can talk about how Jesus brings the most wonderful gift into the world; the presence and love of God. It’s a conversation I’m looking forward to!
I pray that God bless you as you prepare for Christmas.