Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Month of Gratitude - Day 16 - Reason for the Season

Today, I am thankful for special celebrations like Christmas, 
but even more than that, I am thankful for the reason behind them!

Twice in the past week, I've had people ask me a question.
 The same question.

"Have you started to teach Markos about Christmas?"

My answer was the same to both.

"Yes, we've started to talk about it, but there is still a lot that he doesn't know."

Both times, their responses to my answer surprised me.  They were along the same lines as well.

"Oh, good, because we were just talking about Santa...."

In both cases, I think I confused, or maybe just surprised the people I was talking to.  They were about to embark on some Santa thing with him; I had said that I had started to teach Markos about Christmas; and I hadn't even mentioned Santa Claus to him yet.  Well, ummm, yea.  That's about it.

We've never really put a huge emphasis on Santa.  Santa visits our house, but we just don't make a huge deal of it, especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Certainly, when I'm just starting out teaching a 5 year old, who hasn't really ever experienced Christmas like WE do Christmas, I am not going to start out with Santa.

Honestly, I still don't know HOW to even do the Santa thing now.  How do I explain that Santa didn't visit the children in Ethiopia?  Why didn't Santa bring Markos toys or candy or new clothes all those years?  Was he on the naughty list?  Maybe he and all his friends and family in Ethiopia were bad?  Why does Santa only seem to visit the rich kids and not the poor kids?  How do we explain that?!  (OK, this post wasn't really supposed to get into that, but it is something I'm struggling with!)

The real point is.  I want Markos and my other kids to know WHY we celebrate Christmas.  I want them to know that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ!  I want them to know WHY we give presents.  I want them to know WHY we put a star on top of our Christmas tree.  I want them to know WHY we set up that nativity scene every year and what each piece represents.  I want them to know, because it is the reason that we celebrate.  It is the only reason to have Christmas.

Today, I let the boys set up little trees in their room.  As we did, we talked about the shepherds and the angels.  We talked about the star in the sky and how the Wise Men followed it to baby Jesus.  We talked about how they took Jesus presents. 

I haven't made it to Santa, or Jingle Bells, or mistletoe, or pretty girls...

Because I'm starting at the beginning.....
Jesus' birthday.
Born in a manger.
God coming to Earth.
Shepherds in a field.
Angels singing.
Wise men following a star.
Presenting the Christ child with gifts from afar.

If you're wondering, so far, Markos knows that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birthday.  
That Jesus came to Earth to show us how to live and then to die for us to save us.
He knows that Jesus was born in a stable because the inn was full.  
That angels appeared to shepherds in a field and a star appeared in the sky.  
He knows that some kings, also called Wise Men, followed the star to find Jesus and they took him gifts.  He knows that is why we put a star on top of our tree.  
And, that is why we give presents at Christmas, on Jesus' birthday.

That's it.  That's as far as we've gotten.  That's enough for now.  We'll get into Santa another day (after I figure out how!).  Just to get this far, we had to talk about the tooth fairy (long story).  We sang the birthday song to Jesus.  We talked about why we get presents when it's Jesus' birthday, and why we have cookies instead of birthday cake.  There will be a lot of firsts this Christmas season.

But Markos has already learned about Christmas.  The real reason we celebrate Christmas.  He started to decorate his very first Christmas tree and he put the star up on top all by himself, all the while knowing that we put the star there to remember how the star appeared in the sky and guided the Wise Men to Jesus.  

This is going to be a very special Christmas!!  
So very happy that Markos is here to celebrate with our family this year!

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