Our Christmas traditions changed when I realized that I had been deceiving my children… expecting them to have the trait of “truth” when I had lied and deceived them so many years of trying to cover up the Santa fantasy. Kids mimic what they see, not what they are told. It is the same thing as telling you child to tell the caller that you aren’t home while you are standing in the kitchen. All that hard work of trying to teach them correctly and all of a sudden it is gone… done the drain… we reap, what we sow!
I have to say 5 years ago this season, I openly confessed to my children my sin and asked them for their forgiveness. My oldest (now 20) already new the truth but enjoyed “reliving” the fantasy… but my now 11 year old didn’t know. I had sat her down and explained to her first what traditions were and what were fantasies. I told her of a story that when I was a little girl I believed in something for many years and when I found out the truth it hurt me. It scarred me because how could I ever trust this person again… as a child it was hard to forgive. I told her that I loved her so much that I never wanted to do that to her. Then, I told her there was no santa. I asked for her forgiveness for lying to her and trying to deceive here when God gave her to me to love, not to deceive.
I did show her and explained to her the difference between santa and Jesus. I simply asked her which gifts did she really want…. she told me Jesus!
It took me another two years to realize that I had been judgmental to others regarding santa. I have come to realize my own convictions, are just that… mine, not yours. If you feel the Holy Spirit pricking your heart then I would suggest to seek God.
So we began our journey of kicking santa out of our holiday and inviting Jesus instead. We began having a birthday party every Christmas Eve. We would throw a party, decorate (birthday style), invite friends over, bake a cake, and sing happy birthday to Him before we began our Christmas carols. This is something we hadn’t done in a couple of years but something that I need to add to our holiday list to do. What better reason to have a party on Christmas Eve, to invite the guest of honor…. Exciting!!
When I was searching God on ways to change, I read an article that I believe was orchestrated by God for me to read. It was about the Magi Gifts. We have been doing this ever since. It was first published in the Christian Parenting Today, Fall 2002 issue. I read the article at the doctor’s office. In fact, I still have the article from that magazine. I asked the nurse if I could have the article, I explained to her why and she told me to take the magazine since they had received an extra issue. This is what the article said:
Gifts of Gold
When Jesus was born, gold was even more valuable than it is today. It was a gift that was fit for a king or someone of the highest regard. What a great symbol it was for Jesus to receive such an offering from the wise men, as he is indeed the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Not only did the gold gift signify Jesus’ kingly position, but in their book, Gifts for the King, (published by Priscilla and Aquilla Ministries and available at house2house.org), Bill and Leah Miller suggest that the gold may also have helped Mary and Joseph escape Bethlehem. It may have paid for the family’s expenses and protection while they traveled secretly to Egypt to flee King Herod.
This Christmas, explain to your children how the wise men’s gift of gold was significant to Jesus and his family. Then give each child her own “gold” gift. The present should be something of great importance to suggest how valuable your child is to your family.
Gold gifts often end up being our most expensive presents. For example, a gold gift might be the bicycle a child has been dreaming about, the CD player she has been saving for, or a piece of jewelry that seems appropriate. For an extra treat, wrap the “gold” gift in shiny gold paper with iridescent gold bows or ribbons.
Gifts of Frankincense
Frankincense is a white resin or sap taken from the wounds of a tree found in East Africa andSouthern Arabia. Today, frankincense is known for its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder people in ancient times begged for it. It was probably one of the ancient world’s first “cure-all” medicines, healing everything from infections to headaches. Surely Mary and Joseph could use the gift of frankincense with a new baby around.
Frankincense was also a sacred substance. In Exodus 30:34-37, God specifically requests that frankincense be used as sacred incense in his Temple and forbids the Israelites to use frankincense for anything besides his religious purposes. God commanded the Israelites to place frankincense in front of the Tent of Meeting to scent the place where he had promised to meet with them.
Years after that temple was destroyed, God sent his own Son, Jesus, to be a symbolic “Tent of Meeting” for all people. How appropriate, then, that the wise men brought frankincense as a gift for Mary’s baby. Jesus had become our Emmanuel: God with us.
With that in mind, your child’s “frankincense” gift should correspond with the way he “meets” with God. For example, you could give your child a new study Bible, a devotional book, a journal, or worship CD as a frankincense gift. A younger child might enjoy a Christian video or CD of children’s praise songs. Eventually, your children will be able to identify the ways they most enjoy spending time with God and will be able to suggest future ideas for their frankincense gifts. As a symbolic touch, decorate frankincense presents with bright white paper and bows to represent the sacred white incense that Jesus received.
Gifts of Myrrh
Like frankincense, myrrh is also a resin taken from a special tree; however, rather than being white, myrrh is a dark, earthy color and has a rich aroma. In ancient times myrrh was used to scent anointing oils, perfumes, and embalming liquids. Today you can still find myrrh added to some soaps, oils, and lotions.
Miller notes that myrrh was more costly than gold or frankincense because it was needed for the sacred embalming process before a person’s burial. Still, it seems strange to offer an embalming liquid as a gift to celebrate a baby’s birth. But when you consider that Jesus was born to eventually die for our sins, the symbolism behind the treasured gift of myrrh becomes easier to understand. John 19:39-40confirms that Nicodemus did, in fact, anoint Jesus with myrrh as part of his burial preparation.
I am not, however, suggesting that you give your child a gift suitable for her funeral. Instead, remind your children that even though Jesus started out as a little baby, he was sent to die on the cross to take the punishment for each of our sins. Then, as a family, be thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice.
For a “myrrh” gift, present each child with something to “anoint” her body. For instance, you might give scented bath soaps, perfume or cologne, lotion, or shampoo. For younger children, choose colorful bath bubbles or playful tub soaps. To stretch your options a little farther, consider buying combs, hair products, comfy towels, or even make-up if it’s age appropriate. If you look hard enough, you might even find something made with real myrrh. Wrap the myrrh gift with earth-toned paper to represent myrrh’s rich dark color.”
Have fun with this approach. Christmas is a time of peace, not stress.
Read about the Legend of the Magi. After reading the Christmas story from Luke 2, I read this article about the “Legend of the Magi” which sets the stage for passing out the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to my girls.