As many of you know, I have two boys who are now nine and seven years old. When I think of Christmas, I think of my two children, but not in the way that many of you might think.
In our house, Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa. We have never done the whole "Santa thing", and I stand by that decision. My oldest figured out that all of his gifts under the tree were from us at the age of four, and they've always known that Santa Claus is a character. Again, we talk a lot about Jesus, but almost none about Santa. We do spend time talking about St. Nicholas of Myra, and those story get shared in our house more than Rudolph. There have been times when my kids' friends have said, "I got to talk to Santa yesterday at the mall!", and I've had to quietly remove mine before they burst anyone's bubble. They'll ask me in the car, usually in very confused voices, "Why do they think Santa is at the mall?", and I do my best to tell them to let their friends have their fun with it. I have no problem with anyone else telling their kids about Santa when they are young, but it's just not for us.
However, don't get me started on "Elf on a Shelf". Not a fan...
When I look at my children, and love and care for them all year long, I think of Christmas, but again not in the "gifts and toys" way that most people might. My oldest was seven weeks old on his first Christmas. Any of my fellow parents out there, or even those of you with nieces and nephews you've been around since birth, I want to you remember seven weeks. Still incredibly tiny, relying on others for everything, not even strong enough to control their own head. That first Christmas, I cried my eyes out because I was completely blown away by what God did for us.
Think about it. So that He could walk with us, and so that we could more understand Him, God sent his Son as a baby.
Weak, tiny, dependent on others for everything, to show us how much He loves us.
Okay, I'm going to amend the "weak" for just a moment. Any of us who have had children know that the one thing they possess that is incredibly strong is their lungs. When I sing the words, "Our little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes", it takes everything in me not to laugh out loud. There is no way that as a baby Jesus was quiet. God came to this world as a human baby, which means that even he was a red faced screaming ball of chaos.
Two years later, God blew my mind once more when my youngest son turned three weeks old on Christmas. THREE WEEKS. Again, take a moment and remember your children at three weeks old. Some men can hold their three week old children in one hand, they are just that small.
God was willing to become that small for all of us. He love us so much that He became a weak, small, dependent, crying, pooping, sleeping, ball of love so that we could walk with, talk with, and learn from Jesus. I can only imagine what it must have been like for God, in all of His power and glory, to be willing to do that. He loves us THAT MUCH.
Take a moment this Christmas and look at the children around you. Remember changing their diapers, or feeding them a bottle when they were small. Mothers, remember what it was like to have that tiny baby on your breast. God loved you so much that he became that small for all of us.
That is what Christmas means to me.