No Elf on the Shelf
[DISCLAIMER: This post is just about what is in my heart and not intended to be a reflection on anyone else or what they have chosen to do in their home.]
As many of you I’m sure know, we don’t do Santa in our house. This was a decision we had made long before we had kids and, truth be told, there really was no mourning that went with that decision. I don’t ever remember believing in Santa. Whether that is because my parents didn’t “do Santa” either or if it was just a result of being the youngest I’m not sure. But, since I never had that fantasy, I don’t miss not giving that fantasy to my kids.
So, when Abe asked a couple weeks before Christmas if Santa was going to bring him gifts, followed quickly by “Is Santa real?” there was very little hesitation as Mike explained to him that no, he wasn’t. We talked about St. Nick, how he was real (but no longer alive) and that the story of Santa developed from him. (I was slightly surprised how well Abe knew the Santa story. The day before he asked I overheard him telling it to April.) And we were careful to include in our talk that many kids do believe in Santa because their parent’s tell them he’s real and we’re going to let their parents tell them he isn’t real. He was not to do it.
This year a new (at least to me) Christmas tradition is all the rage, and that’s The Elf on the Shelf. Clearly I didn’t grow up with this, but the idea seems so fun to me! It would be such a blast to come up with creative things for our elf “to do” while the kids were asleep and to see the excitement in their eyes each morning as we discover what he had been up to. I have to say there was a part of my heart that was grieving not doing this with the kids. And so I would remind myself of all the reasons why we chose not to do Santa: we didn’t want to ever intentionally lie to them, I know too many people that when they found out he wasn’t real their first thought was to question if Jesus was real, some were devastated and bawled when they found out, or, for an extreme case, listen to this one, and more.
However, my heart continued to mourn this loss until someone in my Bible study group defined the word sacrifice (she wasn’t talking about Santa btw). She said, “Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more.” The minute those words left her mouth my heart was at peace again. Yes, I would love to do the elf with the kids because it would be so much fun. But I love Jesus more. And having them trust, for a life time, that we will always do our best to tell them the truth, that means more than having a couple years of fantasy by taking advantage of that trust.
So, instead we get to talk about things that are REAL. Like the fact that one day, Jesus is going to come back. Yes Abe, FOR REAL! No, I’m not kidding. And when he does, we get to FLY up to meet Him IN THE AIR! Yeah Buddy, that’s right, WE GET TO FLY!! (Wish I could capture for you how big Abe’s eyes got when I told him THAT!) And you know what, when He comes back, we get to reign with Him in His kingdom. Yes, as princes and princesses. And no, Punky, I’M NOT KIDDING. Isn’t it cool!?!?!?!
Sometimes I wonder why we get so excited about a fantasy world that is so pathetic when compared to the reality of our life to come.
More pictures here.