I often lecture my children on "the true meaning of Christmas." There are literally hundreds of books, movies, and songs dedicated to "the true meaning of Christmas." As a Christian I frequently reflect on "the true meaning of Christmas." But somehow, I still seem to occasionally forget it...
We started the day with breakfast, and then the boys wrote letters to Santa! I understand some people do not tell their children about Santa, but we do. We feel there is room for Santa in our traditions, and we welcome him every year.
Today is Cyber Monday. Online shopping, hooray! I adore online shopping- I am not a fan of crazy crowds, and I would rather sip coconut milk cocoa and shop in my pjs any day. As I was shopping (unsuccessfully...) for my children's Christmas gifts, I saw a few Lego Advent calendars I had wanted for the boys, but forgotten to buy before today. Realizing that December 1st is just around the corner, I hastily started clicking site after site, searching for one Lego City Advent Calendar and one Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. There were many sites offering one item or the other item, but I wanted them shipped together. I was frustrated. I finally found a site that carried both, but by the time I was ready to "check out" I had spent a whole hour shopping for these things. I was happy, I finally found both calendars! Wouldn't the boys be excited!? They would get a new Lego toy every single day until Christmas!!! Hooray! These new Lego Advents, in addition to the singing, dancing, candy-filled Advent calendar from my parents... the candle advent I wanted to use... and the Jesse Tree.... woah... wait...
As I stopped and thought about my plans for Christmas, I realized I was sabotaging my own beautifully thought-out traditions with meaningless "stuff." I had envisioned sitting at the dinner table, and slowly lighting our beautiful candle advent. I had pictured daily family scripture study, combined with the loving crafting of our own Jesse Tree ornaments to symbolize all we had learned. My mind had seen the children accepting their small candies thankfully, watching the tiny figures on the mechanical advent dance while singing a different song every day. Yes, I saw all of that, and it was all good and appropriate. Why then, did I feel the need to add more? I am not new to parenting, I know exactly what would happen if they were to get new Lego toys in addition to all of these things... how can a small Jesse Tree compete with a Santa Yoda minifigure? In mindless haste I had forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. I had wasted precious time, and had almost thrown away money, on "stuff."
Problem. I had already told the boys they were getting Lego Advents... the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint them. I felt horrible to go back on something I had already promised them, and I hoped they would take the loss without screaming too much. I braced myself for the worst, and called them into my room. I told them that I thought the Lego Advent calendars were not a good idea, and I apologized for the change of plans. What they did next was the most amazing part... they smiled, said, "Okay!" and ran back to their room to resume playing with their toys. Wow! They get it!
I temporarily forgot the meaning of Christmas, but my children did not. I love that!
I am so thankful that we have such an awe-inspiring and loving Savior who died for our sins- it is truly a good thing that I am offered forgiveness, because I seem to need it often. I am thankful that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me, and are willing to offer their love at all times, despite my many faults. I am so thankful for the scriptures, and for their daily reminders of who I really am, and who I can be. And today, I am even more thankful than ever for my children- who truly do make me a better person!