A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I sat the boys down one family night and told them the truth about Santa. Our oldest, who just turned 13, was already suspicious of this jolly 'ol man but Chris and I were convincing and held out to the very end that he was real, indeed. So, he was unsure based on conflicting murmurings from his friends and his parents. Our youngest, who just turned 10, believed wholeheartedly in St. Nick. Now, keep in mind, I purposely never had any decor of Santa in our home. Ever. Santa never gave big presents - only stocking presents that helped the boys' relationship with God such as devotionals, fiction books, etc. To sum it up, Santa was heavily downplayed in our home. Yet, the boys still believed because we told them to.
With our decision to purge anything that detracts from the truth, our relationship with Christ, AND/OR that takes our resources away from doing God's will (be it time, money, energy), we knew we had to come clean to our kids about some long held traditions. We were convicted to speak the truth in love. To proclaim which message - the one of the world or the one of God's word - was truth. Within that truth should be the celebration.
So, we told them the truth about Santa, with the caveat not to tell other kids because other families still choose to believe in Santa. The Easter bunny wasn't a big deal because we told them from the very beginning that he wasn't real. The baskets and toys they received came from us and they knew that.
Here's the thing we couldn't wrap our head around, once the light came on and Chris and I were convicted about this practice. How can we, in good conscience as Christians and as parents, wrap the truth of Jesus' amazing birth and even more amazing, life-giving death and resurrection, with a bunch of...meaningless stuff?? Isn't the message of his death and resurrection and the meaning and holy joy that it brings... enough?? Must that GREAT NEWS be dressed up to make more appealing? No, He is enough.
I don't want my boys to wake up on Easter Sunday excited about a basket, a bunny and some cheap toys that will be tossed to the corner in a few days! NO! I want them to wake up excited about the truth! That because of His sacrifice, we have assurance of life everlasting with God, if we believe and accept it! There is excitement in His resurrection - not just because of what we stand to gain from it (although that is a biggie) but because of the miracle that it is! How can we try to get them excited about this when we are mudding up the message with toys, sugar and another message entirely?? Chris and I realized that what we thought had been a harmless tradition actually had been drawing them away from the real meaning and importance of this holiday or holy day.
This tradition that we'd been celebrating detracts, and actually DISTRACTS, my kids from God's truth and that was a sad realization for us. Chris and I had to apologize to God and then we apologized to our kids. This was such a healing moment for our family!
With renewed spirits, fresh from eyes being opened wide, we put the money that would have gone to basket fillings to focus on the needs of another. To give the words that breathe life to someone that is dead. We made a pledge to Bibles Unbound. This organization delivers Bibles, even at the risk of their own life, to people desperate to receive a Bible of their own but live in countries hostile to the gospel.
So, no peeps. No jelly beans. No stuffed bunnies. No basket grass (to which Chris is thrilled; he's always hated that stuff). I'll admit, I've had a couple of moments in Target or another store where I impulsively, automatically went toward the Easter stuff. That visual reminder sets a momentary panic in me thinking I am not prepared! Then I remember... it's not about the bunny, it's about Jesus... and I can't buy that.
Disclaimer: I know this isn't a popular thought and I used to be the first to say "what's the harm?" but through our "7" purge and laying everything out before our eyes and before the Lord, we now know. I didn't blog about this as a way to boast or pat ourselves on the back. We grieved over the reality of the conflicting messages we were sending to our children. Nor did I write about this to stir division among believers. This is our own personal conviction, not an edict for others to follow. I do hope it gives you something to think about but I write, if for nothing else, to remind myself of this journey God is leading us on as a family; To have no sacred cows in our life and to have nothing that detracts or distracts from God. That is my reminder through these words.