“And she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a Manger…” Rejoice in the Lord-December 2021
December marks the end of the catholic calendar year but the beginning of the Christian story. It is the most joy-filled holy day in the Christian calendar, and boy, do we celebrate!
It is truly an exciting time of year for young children. There are Christmas decorations in stores, and many cities host a tree lighting ceremony and a parade – with Santa Claus! Human beings love myth and magic, especially young children who are too young to understand theology, but can easily identify with baby Jesus’ story, and cheerfully embrace a saint who brings toys.
Some parents feel that Santa Claus may detract from the religious theme of Christmas, but Santa commemorates a real saint, Saint Nicholas, whose generosity was boundless. Selfless giving is Christian, and, in those brief and precious years when a child is open to wonder and magic, Santa Claus is often their first understanding of gifts freely given. (Even the three Wise Men brought gifts.)
Communities often hold toy drives for children who otherwise might not receive anything. When a child “outgrows” Santa Claus they can become Santa Claus, and join the family in buying some toys for the toy drive. (They are, after all, the family’s resident expert on toys.)
There are those who think Christmas has become too commercial, but, for individual families, it is only as commercial as you allow in your own home. Santa needn’t bring a lot of toys to thrill a child. It’s not the quantity, it’s the magic that counts.
To see Christmas through the eyes of a child – the baby Jesus in the manger, the tree bright with ornaments and lights, the almost unbearable excitement of anticipation on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa Claus.
This unbounded joy, wonder, and excitement that comes only to the young becomes the gift parents give to themselves.