The anticipation of Christmas through the eyes of our children is one of the greatest gifts there is.
I always made sure my children knew the real meaning of Christmas but thought the idea of Santa Clause was intriguing. When we see Christmas through the eyes of our children it takes on a new level of mystery and excitement.
I remember believing in Santa Clause as a young child and don’t remember being devastated or feeling lied to when I discovered he wasn’t real. It was a fond childhood memory that I held close. Fond memories were a rarity for me and I was determined that wouldn’t be the case for my children.
This particular year had been a tough one. I had been a single parent for almost three years and things were not getting any easier. I was still well below the poverty line and could barely put food on the table, much less consider Christmas for my children. Our gift that year would be a warm house with electricity and if we were really blessed, we might have a roast to go with the macaroni and cheese dinner that had become so familiar.
Christmas was approaching fast and I had hoped and even prayed that my children wouldn’t notice its coming and going. Then I wouldn’t have to tell them. I could garner more time to make next year the best Christmas yet. The world wouldn’t have it however. Christmas was everywhere and I couldn’t escape it. I knew I had to tell them.
“Cameron, I need to talk to you” my voice cracked as I prepared to devastate my eight year old son. My other two boys were too young to know any different so I focused on him. Through the tears of a mom desperately clinging to a boy’s childhood memories, I began; “I know you are asking Santa for these things this year but I need to tell you the truth. There is no Santa. I am Santa and it’s been a rough year, and”… I couldn’t finish. It was too much. My kids had been through so much. Why God?
I composed myself enough to ask Cameron, “how do you feel?” To which he responded “I feel fine, I’m just curious how you did it all those other years. We’ve had some pretty great Christmases.” In comparison to the rest of the world, I thought our Christmases had stunk, but he wasn’t comparing us to the rest of the world. He was content.
And so the years passed, and his younger brothers never knew of this Santa Clause. Our circumstances forced us to celebrate Christmas in a humble and meager fashion, yet not nearly as humble as the day Christmas came in to existence. The day our Savior was born into the most humble of circumstances. And that’s what we began to focus on. What was sacrificially given to us, not what we could get today.
That day, so many years ago, I thought I was tarnishing traditions and childhood memories; ruining their chance to be like everyone else. That Christmas, when there were no gifts under the tree, I discovered we were given the best Christmas gift yet!
We were given the chance to worship a Savior without the distraction of commercialism. I had bought the lie that material things would make us happy. Our circumstances through the eyes of Jesus proved I was wrong. That year, we were given the incredible gift of not being like everyone else.
You can read more of Allison’s work at allisonherrin.com or you can pick up her newly released book A Heart Abandoned: Discovering Your Road to Freedom in the Face of a Broken Past.