Monday, December 28, 2009

The Year-End Big Brag


It happens every December. The letters come, some on their own, some stuffed in Christmas cards, some on the back of holiday family picture cards. The yearly brags... gushing highlights from this or that family’s year in review. I enjoy reading them.

Each year I tell myself that I will write one... that I will update everyone on our family’s exciting progress toward perfection. I never do it. I can’t do it. Because my year-end big brag is filled with gaping holes.

But this year I finally forced myself to do it. Yes indeed, I wrote the year in review letter for an audience of one... one I do not have to (nor am able to) lie to. It starts off, Dear God...

I will share a few highlights of the highlights...

I apologized for the me that hasn’t died yet, the me that is still filled with rage and fire, the me that so poorly represents Him when I am telling off someone who has hurt me or mine.

I recapped my weaknesses that should be long gone by now but aren’t and then immaturely laid the blame at his feet. I reminded him that with all we have been through, that I should have more faith and loyalty to him, but then pleaded for no more trials by fire to improve in this area.

I thanked him for answering so many prayers including the ones that are selfish and silly, and probably not worth his time. I especially thanked him for sending Kimani’s bottom front teeth that a dentist told me did not exist.

I talked about my marriage, all my children, my goals, my spiritual state of being... the highs and lows, the proud moments and the shameful ones. And when I was done, I folded it up and tucked it away in a drawer.

And then I thought, ha ha ha, imagine if I took the salutation off and sent this letter out on crisp Christmas-wreath-bordered paper... Um, yeah, it wouldn’t be funny but it would sure be the real deal. I can picture the jaws dropping and the “oh, Lordies” flying. Gosh, don’t you just love year-end big brags?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa and the Hypocritical Blogger

We took the kids to see the Lights in the Park display... a dazzling spectacle of over 125 holiday scenes made up of Christmas lights. The kids loved it and I have to say it was positively impressive this year.

After the drive, we visited the craft show and had some treats. Can you guess who was there? Uh huh, Santa. Can you guess who let her kids sit on his lap? Yup, yours truly. I even let my husband snap pictures of my hypocrisy for your viewing pleasure.

Santa and the kids

Seriously though, I am fascinated by how they still want to check him out even though they know the real deal (in fact Gecko even announced it to Santa who promptly responded that he landed a spot on the naughty list for it.) Should I have denied their request to chat with him with a loud, “No way, he might be a pervert! It isn’t safe to take candy from strangers”? Perhaps, but instead I opted for the stranger-danger after talk.

Clearly the “in it/of it” thing is still a little blurry for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Somewhere in Kazakhstan...

There is a little girl named Jasmina who is waiting to be adopted. She is a beautiful child who has Down syndrome, and she is the only child with Ds available for adoption through Reece’s Rainbow in Kazakhstan. More than anything I would like to be able to give this child her forever family for Christmas. But I am not God (or Santa ;-) and I cannot grant her wish with just my will.

I can donate to her adoption grant and I can ask you to consider this gift as well. If you have anything left in your charity budget this year, please give to Reece’s Rainbow on behalf of Jasmina or any of the angels that are hoping to be saved from life in an institution.

Reece’s Rainbow accepts PayPal but prefers checks to save on processing fees. If you are going to send Jasmina a Christmas gift for her fund, please make the check out to Reece’s Rainbow and put Jasmina’s name in the memo. Mail the check to: Reece’s Rainbow, PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885. Thank you.

May you and yours be blessed during this wonderful Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holy Ho Ho Ho

Sorry to break the news to you but there is no Santa Claus, and no flying reindeer either. I’ll wait while you run for the tissue box. (And by the way, please don’t call the North Pole to tattle on me for this post... I don’t want coal in my stocking.)

My kids have been told from the beginning that there is no such thing as an all-knowing Santa Claus who sneaks into our house and leaves presents under our tree. They know that the guy in the mall is just that... a guy dressed up to represent another guy from long ago named Nicholas who gave away his wealth to those in need, particularly children. They know that Santa Claus is just a fun made up character who hands out candy canes from his throne in the mall. Before you lament my poor children for their scrooge of a mother, know this: it doesn’t matter that they know Santa isn’t real because apparently the Santa Claus myth is so deeply ingrained in our culture that my three year old does not even believe me when I remind him of the truth...

Jade and I were in the store a couple weeks ago playing with Thomas trains. He was having a wonderful time and got quite upset when I told him it was time to say goodbye to Thomas. He threw an all out, thrashing, screaming, waterworks fit right there in aisle 8 of A.C. Moore. I told him it was okay because he would be getting Thomas for Christmas in a few weeks, that “Momma Santa” would give it to him. “No he won’t,” he wailed, “He’s mean.” After a bit of back and forth about whether or not this particular train would be under the tree on Christmas morning I got terribly exasperated and shouted, “Jade, remember? I AM SANTA CLAUS! And I KNOW you are getting this for Christmas!” He looked at me through his tears and yelled back, “You are not Santa.” And so it went, with me tossing my dear child over my shoulder and heading for the door.

As you can see, we are not Santa sanitizers... I mean, his name does come up and we do tell the kids when they want something to put it in on their Christmas lists for Santa, wink wink. But we were very clear with them from the first time they saw the guy who he is and who he is not.


Christian parents get all weird on me when I say we don’t do the Santa hoax in our house... Really what harm is there in perpetuating the Santa Claus myth?

First of all it is a lie. A big lie. A big big big lie that gets bigger and more detailed as your kids grow in sophistication. And last I checked God still wasn’t into lying.

Second, it confers God’s characteristics... omniscience, the right to judge, supernatural abilities... onto a dead guy who through his unwavering generosity got sainted and made into a cultural icon. (And no, Santa is not an allegorical God and even if he were, the second commandment might be an issue ;-) It is also kind of hard to convince your children that the Jesus (they can’t see) part of Christmas is still true after they find out the Santa (they see everywhere) isn’t.

Next, it seriously detracts from the real meaning of Christmas. A visit from Santa becomes more important (and certainly more exciting) than the greatest birthday celebration of all.

And last... it goes against everything we teach our kids about strangers... Yes, Jade go hop on that strange guy’s lap and take candy from him... he’ll be sneaking into our house later this week...

So why do we do it and why do we get so upset when someone suggests that maybe we shouldn’t? That is not a rhetorical question... if you know the answer, tell me. Do you think Mary would have pulled the Santa lie on Jesus... “Guess what Jesus... you've been such a good boy that for your birthday this year, some made up magical guy in a red suit is going to fly in on a sleigh pulled by magical reindeer to drop off your birthday presents while you are sleeping... isn’t that nice?”

Get your own Jesus and Santa figurine.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For Those Who Pray


I have a blog friend who has walked in my shoes. Now she has been kidnapped and in her own words, "taken and stored in a terrible stinking rotten crate aboard a vessel I have not had the courage to name." Please take the time to visit her and pray for her daughter Willa, pictured above.