a little santa and a baby jesus

today we sang "happy birthday" to Jesus and we listened to "oh holy night."  we've prayed with them a short prayer of thanks.  but we also watched miracle on 34th street.  yesterday, they got excited when they saw santa in the mall and we never casted them a shameful glare when they gave us huge smiles upon recognizing him.  we talk about santa and magic and mystery in a playful way.  they also see that mom and dad are the ones who put the presents under the tree.  it's a mix.  and yet, sometimes i worry...

we didn't read the story from Luke 2 before opening presents.  we didn't finish our truth in the tinsel advent calendar.  we didn't hear a sermon during the advent season.   

but i shouldn't worry, right?  at this point in their young lives, i don't feel the need to set them straight and outline the theology of Christmas.  at this point we do small acts and say ordinary things (at least i try), that allow them to see Christmas and this season as magical and wondrous and...simple.

sophie is asking questions about Jesus and about THE meaning of Christmas that i don't have the words to adequately convey the what or why we celebrate.  i sometimes find that i'm still learning about the what and why.  i'm still stunned by this beautiful mystery of grace.  what words do i use to explain this all to my 4 year old?  

so when i start to worry if i haven't packed-in enough of what Christmas is and the why Jesus is so crucial to the story of Christmas, i have to remember that what they believe doesn't hinge on this one day or this season of the year.  that if we don't do the advent candles or read the Christmas story from the bible before we open presents, then that's okay.  they will still learn about who Jesus is.  it will become meaningful to them when God starts to open their hearts to receive this beautiful mystery.  that for now, it's okay to keep things simple and unadorned.  so what if it's a hodgepodge of flying reindeer and wise men with gifts for a baby.  for now i don't want to demand that our Christmas day be filled with the accuracy of the historical timeline and the correct lyrics which include the confusing "round yon virgin".  

she asks the deep questions all ready without my prompting:  "what is peace?"  "what is contentment?"  "what is joy?"  and those, in and of themselves, are what Christmas is about.  using a few, simple words to tell a 4 year old what joy is holds the weight and impact that i want her to know about, or that she can make sense of now.

for now it is enough to find the true meaning of Christmas in the simpleness of our words and the few song verses we know.  it's enough right now to share in their awe over santa clause and their laughter in singing "happy birthday" to Jesus.  it's enough if we share the time together as a family while they open presents and help each other find the gifts with the initial of their name on top.

it's enough that watching a video of a young man singing "oh holy night", with sophia wrapped in my arms, moves me to tears, touching that place in my heart that needed to be broken.  crying not because of sadness, as sophia first thought, but because Christmas is that needed reminder of how much i have been redeemed; because of that tiny, perfect babe who came to the world, who became the Rescuer and has brought Light into darkness.  so simply, i can say to that, "sophia, i cry because i am loved by Jesus."  

can that be the reason why we celebrate Christmas?  can that be what we tell our children? and can that be enough?