Dec 4, 2011

Santa or Jesus?

Even though I was raised in a Christian home, I was taught to believe in Santa Claus. Every year, I would become excited at the possibility of unwrapping a special gift created just for me. The present would be from Santa Claus himself. And he would know just what I wanted because I had written a letter to Santa. There were some years I would even express my hopes to him in person in a mall near our home. What joy is was to unwrap the toy or doll I had wished for!

However, I was sad little girl who was raised in home filled with turmoil. And as a result, I was no stranger to disappointment. One year, I watched as my father fall from the roof of our home. He had been drinking and lost his balance. We also moved many times. My parents fought frequently and bitterly in front of me. Then, they decided to divorce when I was turning the tender age of nine.  As a result I put my belief in Santa Claus. So, the year I discovered that Santa wasn't real, sadness attempted to take over my heart. Perhaps, the disappointment in finding out that the man I had held dear was not real, was too much to comprehend.

These days, I am raising a young child of my own. And, I have chosen to do things a little differently. Because I am a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ who has found such joy and comfort in developing faith in Him, I emphasize the fact that Jesus is real rather than provide false hope to my young and impressionable child. Therefore, in our home, there is very little talk about Santa. Instead, we spend our mornings leading up to Christmas day by acting out the story of the Nativity. Today, we used Velcro finger sized puppets from an advent calender. And, at night before bedtime, instead of watching my old childhood favorite Christmas specials such as "Charlie Brown's Christmas" and "Santa and the Three Bears," my young son and I share our evenings curled up on the couch watching Walt Disney's Classic Holiday Story called, "The Small One."
We have also come to love "The Nativity," by The Greatest Adventure and our newest favorite, "The Littlest Angel." My heart warms and is filled with comfort. I know now that teaching my son to have faith in God!

Recently my son expressed that being an only child was difficult. He said, "I know you try to play with me Mommy, but I need to have friends my age." Hearing this, I felt my heart begin to break. Suddenly, I heard myself reply, "If you want friends all you have to do is ask Jesus for some."

My son believed my words and put his faith and trust in the Lord. On a few occasions, I caught him in prayer. Then today in church we sat across from family we knew well. The husband and wife are active church members. They are also foster parents. I had a feeling that I should approach them  and ask if they wouldn't mind sharing the oldest foster child currently placed in their home. I went over to the foster father. And asked, "Would you like for your oldest foster child to come play with Travis sometime?" The foster father looked at me and said, "Oh, praise God!" Then he shared with me that the foster boy had been fighting a lot with his younger brothers and sisters. He said, "If you don't mind, he could come to your home. It would be nice for the boy to have a break from his siblings." I didn't share my son's hopes and prayers with the man. I simply smiled and asked, "How soon can he come over?"

Then, I met the young boy as he walked over to Sunday school. He told me that he was nine-years-old, just two years older than my son. He was as polite as can be. When I asked his name, I couldn't help but giggle at his answer. He said, "I'm Christian," and shook my hand. Wow! God had provided a Christian for my son to play with.

When we arrived home, we received a call from Christian's foster parents. Right away he came over. Both boys laughed and jumped with joy as they played a fishing game on our Wii system. What a blessing! Not only had my son received a new friend, a Christian friend, but God had given him another reason to believe in Jesus who always faithfully answers prayers. And I received a gift too. God gave me the gift of knowing my son has faith in a Savior who will never leave him feeling disappointed!
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