One more year. I thought we'd be able to get one more year out of our youngest for that special Christmas "magic" that exists only when little kids believe in Santa, flying reindeer and elves. As of last night, that magic has left the building. Elfis, our Elf on the Shelf, has been outed.
She'd been asking, "When is Elfis coming back, Mom?" and saying, "I can't wait for Elfis to get here," so the following conversation was a complete blindside. I felt like I was on Survivor, or something.
My heartbreak began last night around 8 pm. My youngest, now 10 years old, came to me and said,
"Mom, I want to ask you something, but you have to promise to answer me completely truthfully."
Rats. Dang. Poop. Rats.
I was NOT expecting that to be her question.
The rest of the conversation went something like this:
"Well, no. Not in the way you are thinking of "Santa." There is no fat man in a red and white suit that flies around the world on Christmas Eve in a magic sleigh with flying reindeer delivering presents to all the good girls and boys in the world. However...."
"We all get to be Santa at Christmastime."
"What do you mean?"
"When we give gifts to people, we get to be Santa. When we are generous with our blessings, we get to be Santa. When Daddy and I gave you the present you wanted most at Christmastime, WE got to be Santa."
"But why do we need Santa at all then?"
(There are times I wish she wasn't so unbelievably smart).
"We are a Christian family, right?"
"And we believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, right?"
"OK, so when we are really little, do you think we can understand who God is? A God that is never seen or touched or heard out loud?"
(She looks perplexed, but curious).
"It's hard for us to understand about God when we're really little, so we have Santa to help. Santa is a fatherly figure, that gives good gifts to those that follow his rules (being good instead of naughty), loves us no matter what, lives in a far-away place, and we never get to see him for real."
(She's understood that mall Santas are just fill in assistants for the real Santa, and they really are).
"Santa is a perfect description of who God is to those of us that believe in him."
(I watched the lightbulb click on - it was fascinating to behold).
"OK. I totally get it. That makes me feel so much better that all those great gifts we've gotten for Christmas came from you and Daddy because you love us so much."
(Whew. Thank you, Lord, for helping her understand and for taking it so well).
"What about Elfis?"
(SERIOUSLY? I saw all the fun times with hiding Elfis throughout the house slipping away...)
"Sorry Sweetie, Elfis is a wonderful, fun game that Daddy and I have played to make Christmas that much more special every year."
"So what IS he, then?"
"A stuffed toy."
(She rolls her eyes at me).
"Well, now what do we do with him?"
(This is where it got fun again).
"Now we ALL get to play "hide the Elf on a Shelf" game. Whoever finds him first gets to hide him for the others to find."
(And.....another "praise God" tossed in here, too).
"OK, Mom. I've had my suspicions for a while now, but I was afraid to ask. I'm glad I know, though, about Santa. Thanks for being honest with me."
So my baby isn't much of a baby anymore, my oldest is moving into "womanhood" (poor kid), and this momma is getting greyer by the minute.
Santa is all of us, not an individual guy in a red and white suit, and Elfis, our Elf on the Shelf, is a stuffed toy. Rats. Poop. Dang. Rats.
As my family and I move into this beautiful time of year that we all love so much, we will focus on the REAL meaning of Christmas.
Christmas, for Christians, is a celebration of Jesus' birth. We're having a birthday party for the one person that was willing to give his life for us so that we could spend eternity with Him. Now THAT's a good gift.
That other Santa? The guy in the red and white suit? Do you know where that image came from?
Many images of Santa dressed in red and white appeared in the early 1900's, but it was a series of images drawn by Haddon Sundblom for Coca-cola that really cemented that image in the public's mind's-eye. Yup, a soda company. Just thought you might like to know.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
John 3:16 (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
What will the conversation sound like when it's your turn to talk to your child about Santa and your Elf on the Shelf? Share it here in the comments, and come join my Facebook page (don't forget to "like" it while you're there) to enjoy more conversations and receive a daily post for devotionals.
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