Putting up my Nativity Scene this year and decorating my tree and home, was a little different without the children around “helping”. Being an empty nester means the yuletide traditions are a little different and I have to get used to the fact that I might not have all my babies here for Christmas. My children know that Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I decorate the house with gusto and go WAY overboard decking the halls! I love the end result of course, but I dread the tear down after Christmas. It took two days to put up and will take at least two days to take down! Still, I love the Season, the lights, the decorations, the tree and all the whimsical décor that makes Christmas a feast for the imagination!
As a Christian, of course my focus is on the Birth of our Saviour. I remember my oldest daughter was only two the first time she “helped” me put up my Nativity scene. I pointed to each figurine as I placed it on the table. “Who is this?” I asked her and pointed to each one. “That’s Joseph,” she said, “and the Three Wise Men, and Baby Jesus!” I pointed to the last figurine, “Who is this lady?” My daughter answered quickly, “That’s Mary Christmas!”
I am very purposeful in how I decorate my house at Christmas. It’s not just a feng shui thing going on with a Canadian Home Living décor, it’s mostly about telling the story of Jesus everywhere you look. I always situate my Nativity Scene very close to a “Last Supper” sculpture I have. I hang a large spike close to the trunk of my Christmas tree, representing the fact that Jesus’ Cross was constructed from a tree. The cradle and the cross should always be remembered together.
Finally I place my “Kneeling Santa” figurine on the coffee table. My children have always had a healthy attitude towards Santa Claus. We don’t banish the Jolly Old Elf from our home, nor do we idolize his image. Instead, in this simple, yet effective way we show him in relationship to the Baby Jesus. He, like all other people, places and things are under the authority of Christ and we know that Santa is merely a legend, but Christ is REAL.
I’ve told my kids about the true “Santa” – Saint Nicholas who had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for the mythical Santa Claus we know today.
I don’t have a problem with Santa. Just like any other imaginary character, my kids know him for what he is and we appreciate the fun and the excitement that goes with a visit to a mall Santa and asking for all the things on a wish list. We hang up our stockings just like everyone else, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be here. It’s fun!
In researching for this blog post I came across a wonderful “Santa” site…no, not the North Pole – HO, HO, HO!
It’s a website that honours past, present and future “Santas” and I found it of particular interest that the colours of the “official” Santa Claus Coat of Arms are the traditional Christian colours of Christmas. Red is for the blood of Christ, green is for the eternal life in Christ and gold is for Christ the Divine. Prospective Santas are required to sign an oath that states: I know the “real reason for the season” and know that I am blessed to be able to be a part of it.
So while the children are nestled all snug in their beds with visions of electronic gadgets dancing in their heads; I in my slippers and my husband in his housecoat, will fill up those stockings and then I’ll let my wandering eyes fall upon Santa kneeling and praying beside the Christ Child and it will indeed be a Merry Christmas to all…and to all a Good Night!
The sleigh was all packed, the reindeer were fed, But Santa still knelt by the side of the bed.
“Dear Father,” he prayed “Be with me tonight. There’s much work to do and my schedule is tight.
I must jump in my sleigh and streak through the sky, Knowing full well that a reindeer can’t fly.
I will visit each household before the first light, I’ll cover the world and all in one night.
With sleigh bells a-ringing, I’ll land on each roof, Amid the soft clatter of each little hoof.
To get in the house is the difficult part, So I’ll slide down the chimney of each child’s heart.
My sack will hold toys to grant all their wishes. The supply will be endless like the loaves and the fishes.
I will fill all the stockings and not leave a track. I’ll eat every cookie that is left for my snack.
I can do all these things Lord, only through You, I just need your blessing, then it’s easy to do.
All this is to honor the birth of the One, That was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son.
So to all of my friends, least Your glory I rob, Please Lord, remind them who gave me this job.”
Warren D. Jennings