I’ve been noticing ‘round these Catholic parts, some people have an issue with Santa. QUELLE HORREUR!!!! (Just kidding of course- whatever works for your family and gets them ready for Jesus’ birthday).
I’d like to let you know how we do Advent/Christmas- blending the ‘secular’ (which is beautiful) and the ‘Holy’ (or somethin’ like that).
Do you know, I found out last year, there is a priest in the Archdiocese who actually calls forth the children at the CHILDREN'S MASS, and tells them, collectively that Santa isn't real? Are you joking me?!?!
We believe in Santa. We just do. My dad, who is a senior citizen, well, he believes in Santa. If anyone tries to say Santa isn’t real, he lets them know what’s up. Santa is the spirit of giving that occurs during the Advent/Christmas season. It is the nudge you have in your soul to generously give and the feeling you get when you have given of yourself, your time or your treasure. When each of us siblings reached the age where the ‘Santa Talk’ had to be had, that’s how it was described to us. And we got it, and we loved participating in the mystery for the younger siblings.
Right next to our tree, I have this poster-puzzle a Mercy Girl made for me long ago. It is a picture of Santa, he is done making the rounds and he is dreaming of the Christ Child. On the top of our tree is a star and right below the star is an ornament of Santa adoring the baby Jesus. These are the symbols we use to blend the ‘magic’ of Santa with the awe-inspiring reality of a God who become next to nothing, born in a manger.
We don’t do elf on the shelf. As I have already described, we do an angel who comes bearing gifts such as bananas and flashcards to announce the coming birth of Christ. It works for us. We think the Elf is pretty darn cute. Maybe one year, we will want a little elf creating ruckus to inspire our children to behave during this season of crazy. But for now, our ghetto- banana carrying angel is working. And it’s fun and the boys look forward to it every morning. I’m shocked by how many people have strong feelings of hatred for a little elf. He’s awesome. Back off. And so is my angel.
On Christmas Eve, we will celebrate at my parent’s house with the Polish tradition of Wigilia. We will go home for a few hours and start a new tradition of Christmas pajamas and a Christmas movie. We will go to Midnight Mass (or something’ close to that) upon the husbands request (because, who in their right mind would go to Midnight Mass with three babies?!?! Answer- my husband). We will end the night with Big Aaron reading from the Gospel the story of Christ’s birth.
On Christmas morning, our children wake up. The first thing we will do is put Baby Jesus in his proper place on our ‘countdown to Christmas’ Calendar. This year, we will be singing happy birthday with a ‘blue cake’ that little Aaron is so excited to make. Our baby Jesus from the manger will be in the center of the cake. We will have ‘first breakfast’ with a tiny slice. After, we will read my children a note from Santa. He will thank them for their cookies and milk and then remind them that Christmas is about a God who loves them. A God who is proud of them. A God who continues to be available to them as their very best friend. After, that we will move to presents.
And my children will get three presents (thanks Theresa)…one from Santa, one from Jesus and one from us. Then, my in-laws will come over for some spectacular waffles made by the husband. By about 2:00 pm, our house will be quiet and we will celebrate together, as a little family, the joy that comes from it all.
You see, Santa, that spirit…well my friends, that spirit IS Jesus and it doesn’t have to be a conflict even though many have chosen to make it so. Christmas doesn’t have to be about ‘too much’. Too many presents, too much secular, too many parties and constant stress. Rather, it can be about simplicity. It can be about Joy. It can be the birth of Christ! And a guy who ‘lives up north’.
Oh, and Jesus told me to tell you that he doesn’t mind the Christmas music a few weeks before his birthday. Just kidding- he didn’t tell me to tell you that, I just am! But, for real though, I think, when we get to heaven he’s gonna be like, ‘yeah, I totally didn’t mind the Christmas music’. And Imma be like, ‘good! Because I have been listening to it and singing loudly in my car to prepare for your birth’!