When you believe in Santa, how do you pray?

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We love Jolly Old Saint Nick, otherwise known as Swieta Mikolaj here in Poland.

We love his red suit, his white beard, his jiggly belly, and his bright smile.

We love the twinkle in his eyes.

And did you know he actually sent us a couple of those elves while we were living in Arizona? Yep! Charleston and Swenson. Oh, they are clever little elves up to lots of good fun.

Today I found them in our Marks and Spencer bag EATING our salt and vinegar chips!

Don’t they know that is a HUGE NO-NO! After all, Poznan is an hour away from where we live. We only get to Marks and Spencer every month or so…And even our two-year-old, Maxwell, LOVES those chips.

Pesky, fun-loving, excitement for the next magical place they will appear, ELVES! I do have a feeling, since our home is heated by coal, that they will wind up in the furnace room—in a pile of coal—before long!

I wonder if this will scare Adelyne, our 8-year-old? Perhaps she’ll think she’s getting put on the naughty list. Sometimes she actually is…but aren’t we all?!

Our son, Maxwell. He’s not sure what to think of our elves. The elves received Oreos the morning St. Nick came and brought goodies for the shoes. And one elf had an Oreo out and was eating it when we must have surprised them. And so his Oreo dropped on the ground.

All Maxwell, the 2-year-old, saw was a perfectly good Oreo lying on the ground. OHHHHHHH! What torture.

He kept trying to grab the cookie. I told him, “No, Maxwell, that cookie does not belong to you.”

It was hilarious. He laid down on the floor with his hand stretched out to the cookie, his fingers merely wisps away from it and just cried, “Cookie! My cookie!” (See above picture for accurate depiction of this story)

Of course, his age has a LOT to do with pretty much everything right now.  But it was a FANTASTIC lesson in “We don’t take what does not belong to us, even if the magical elves will not finish eating it later.”

I must say, (pat-pat-pat on my back) he did not take the cookie.  He practiced self-control.  And that is a HUGE deal, if you have a 2-year-old.  So, these magical elves also help us teach lessons.  Lessons like:  listening to your mom; and practicing self-control.   Well done, C and S (Charleston and Swenson).

And, as much as my daughter (Adelyne the 8-yr-old), LOVES the elves.  She does freak out sometimes.  Like the other day she was downstairs alone, Christmas music was playing, when she heard, in a high-pitched voice, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

Sure enough, at the speed of lightning that we don’t often get to see her travel in, she was up those stairs, in our laps, crying, “Mom!  Did you hear that?  Do you think the elves spoke?  I heard, ‘Merry Christmas!’ in a high and squeaky voice!”

Her dad and I hugged her and said, “Wow!  How exciting!  You heard them speak.  What fun!”

It did little to curb her excitement, and then she refused to go back downstairs and finish her homework.  Perhaps you aren’t laughing—but we were.

The minds of children really are delicate balances of excitement and wonder with the never-ending tier of, whether it is based upon sense or not, “Protect me, please!”

But, before you get worked into a lather, she wrote her elves notes later that night, yes, they write her notes back, and asked if she heard them speak.  They responded, “YES!”  And she was so excited.

So, even in the midst of uncertainty, the child-like joy of the magical remains.  And that is WHY I love living these phases of life with my children.

BUT…

And this is the big BUT.  How do we pray in our home when we so obviously are also in love with the big, red suit and the joys of the magical parts of the Christmas Season?

It’s simple.   Christmas is a glorious season of giving.  And receiving.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with either and something beautiful about both.

Why it’s better to give than receive!  You may say.

Why, yes, the Bible is very clear about that, Acts 20:35,  I respond.  But let us take a moment to look at both!

And that is why I am writing this post.

The GREATEST gift that was ever given to us came as a small child, in a miraculous way, over 2,000 years ago.  You probably have heard the song, “Away in a Manger”.  Well, perhaps I should have said, “In a miraculous way in a manger…”

Anyhow.  We did not deserve this precious gift.  Yet this gift was given.  To me.  The BIGGEST sinner of all.  Really.  You should see me wife-it and parent-it and live-it.  I am a big ol’ failure each and every day.

“Oh, but Brooke, we do see you—you put it on your blog.”

Oh, that’s right.  So you know.

And I will never fail in proclaiming how hard this thing called life is and how grateful I am for the gift of forgiveness and grace.  So grateful.

Therefore, this miraculous gift that was given to us as a baby, so very long ago, remains the GREATEST focus of our home.

How do we do that and love Santa?

It’s easy.  Every night when we pray, we thank the Lord for what he has provided in our lives.  And, just so you know, provisions do not merely mean monetary things.  We are thankful for health and family.  We are thankful for our precious international church and our best friends.  We are thankful for our baby that was taken in pregnancy to heaven (and, yes, we thank God every day for this baby with our children).

And we also thank him for the home he has provided, and our dogs (especially when they foil the plans of robbers).

We thank him for our daughter’s school, and our son’s medicine (our son is a life-survivor).

Josephine!  She’s our last surprise miracle.  We thank God for her chubby goodness.

And we thank God for our marriage (even though the kids are unaware of the depths that have gone into fighting for it).

We thank God each day for so many beautiful things that he has placed in our lives===the men at the New Life Center and the people that give so that these homeless men and former prisons can have new starts to life…

Our lists are long.  We are unendingly (is that a word) THANKFUL!

And, now that the Christmas season is upon us and everywhere you walk you see the Jolly Red Suit, we continue to make an extra effort to remind our children that as much as we love Santa, we love Jesus more.

This is how we end our prayers, “And, Lord, thank you so much for this season of the GREATEST gift of all…your son!  Your son that you gave to us so humbly.  The angels rejoiced and so do we.  Thank you for the gift of Jesus and the life that he lived and the sacrifice he made at the cross and the victory that took place when he conquered death.   It’s because of this gift of Jesus that we know you in such a personal way.”

And two out of 3 say, “Amen!”

But, to be fair, the third is only 10-months-old, so she pretty much only says, “Dadda and Ada” right now.

When they drift into their child-like slumbers, what do they dream?  Well, that is a question for the next morning.  Tucking them in, kissing their faces, and hugging them tight, however, we send them to bed with the reminder of the greatest gift.  And this is the last thing on their hearts before we close the doors, whispering, “Good night!  We love you more than life.”

That’s it.  My friends.

That’s why it is not hard for us to love Santa and yet remain focused on Jesus in our home.  Because, in the end, he’s what matters most.

And, if you think about it, he was a gift.  So, in a way, receiving is also blessed, too.

How about you?  How do you love Santa and keep your family’s focus on Jesus?

***

Here are some other blogs related to Christmas that I have written in the past:

The Christmas Mullet…what a shame!  http://wp.me/p3Bh9m-30

It shares about some of the Polish traditions to Christmas and the very unfortunate incident of my daughter’s personal hair cut.  Which means she personally cut her own hair.  At Christmastime.  Oh, and there is a carp in our bathtub!  Enjoy.

Jesus Good.  Santa Bad? http://wp.me/p3Bh9m-OO

A blog written that questions “Is Santa Bad?”  My look on it in my life.  Enjoy!

AND…Click on any of the above highlighted words in the article to go to a different article regarding the highlighted topic.  Enjoy!

xo always,

b and my crazy gang

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