christmas magic - smallWritten by: Theresa Gilbert

Here is the third and final part of my Christmas in our culture series. I hope you enjoy! (Read post 1 and post 2)

My first two posts talked about how far our culture has steered away from the true meaning of Christmas – barely even daring to mention the word in advertising. The predominant symbol, of course, is Santa Claus. His cheery face can be found on commercials, flyers and billboards. You can bring your kids to meet him at the mall or wave to him at a parade.

I find it very curious and concerning that the vast majority, from what I can tell, of our society will happily celebrate all the fun things around Christmas while missing the point entirely! Parents will gladly fill their children’s heads with stories of a “real” Santa who flies around the world bringing gifts to every child in one night, yet fail to even utter the name Jesus.

I find Santa problematic for a few reasons. In particular, I don’t understand how our society is so willing to lie to children yet are becoming more and more hostile to Christianity. Also, why does a fictional character get all the credit when the parents bend over backward to get the gifts for their children?  And, what happens when a child has been good but does not get the gifts he wrote Santa about? Worse yet, a friend does get all the gifts he wanted.

But, that is what it has become all about – gifts. An overabundance of gifts. Yes, I think our culture understands “giving gifts” as a way of showing we care for each other- which is a good thing – but we have also been conditioned to expect many gifts in return. And, do we really need all this … stuff?

Now that I have a child, my husband and I have been discussing how we will celebrate Christmas with her. We have decided that Santa will be far from the focus, although he will be a character like Frosty the Snowman. Instead of focussing on a fictional character we will focus on preparing for the birth of Christ and celebrating His birthday (no need to write a letter to Santa when we can make a birthday card for Jesus!).

Our child (and hopefully more to come!) will grow up understanding the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. They will learn about St. Nicholas, know the importance of an Advent wreath, enjoy activities that teach about preparing our hearts for Christ and celebrate Christmas with Jesus at the centre.

What are some of your Advent and Christmas traditions?

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