The words spilled out before I knew what was happening.
They spilled out like a jar of marbles scattering everywhere.
Spilled from my jar. The one I keep inside for just such words.
Christmas started out much like it always does for my brood. The day AFTER Thanksgiving starts our Christmas season. We collect our 15 year old tree from the box in the barn. We pull out all the ornaments and reminisce over each and every one. We bake cookies. We listen to Christmas carols for 31 days straight, and we celebrate the birth of our King.
Every year I watch my girls revel in all things Christmas, and every year I share in their joy. But for me, it always tastes bittersweet. You see since her first Christmas, I’ve felt like a big fat liar. I’ve done a great job at stuffing it. Stuffing the big secret into my jar and feeding into the fantasy. Why not? I lived it. It was fun. It was magical. It was what dreams were made of and I wanted her to experience the joy of Christmas.
At least that's what I was telling myself. That was what was on the surface. But hidden behind that jar was the truth. I’ve kept that jar sealed tight for 13 years now. But this Christmas everything changed.
I guess you could say that the Holy Spirit has been chipping away at my jar for these 13 years. With each year that passed, the whole idea lost it’s luster. I was growing weary of the whole thing. I would literally become nauseous when Christmas Eve night rolled around. But still I kept feeding the tradition.
That was until this year.
It started with a book.
My four year old is finally to the age where she is really grasping what’s going on around her. Nothing gets past this kid. So I try a little experiment. I read her the story of St. Nicholas. A great story that tells all about this man who loved Jesus and wanted to share His love with others by secretly giving them gifts.
She listened to every word. Soaked it up. But then we turn on cartoons and they tell her the complete opposite and I cringe. My mind reels and I stuff it. I fight a battle between my mind and the Holy Spirit’s nudging. I’m taken back to the day that I figured it all out, the day I lost a little trust in my mom. Dear Lord, I never want my girls to lose trust in me. His answer is swift and pierces my spirit…How can you expect them to be honest with you if you aren’t honest with them?
Then comes the text.
Friend: Santa is really real. You should research it.
In my mind: WHAT?!?!? Are you serious!
Me: Yes, I know all about St. Nicholas. I’ve read the story to my girls. We try to keep the focus on Jesus at Christmas.
Friend: Well, it’s good to have dreams. Christmas is about Jesus, but it’s also about giving and that’s what Santa does.
Me: We focus on Jesus and giving to others. It’s all about Jesus.
Me: I think about it like this. What about the kid whose parents can’t afford presents from “Santa”. Then this kid has to go to school and hear another kid talk about how “Santa” brought him an iPad. How do you think that other kid feels. Doesn’t Santa love him?
Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2012.
We’ve visited family, gotten our bellies full, and have come back home to settle in for a “long winter’s nap”. As we settle in, I hear her (the one who has this whole myth figured out but is still clinging to the dream) say to her little sister…”You gonna leave some milk and cookies for Santa?” and with that…the jar explodes.
With all three girls and my husband gathered round I release this burden that has hampered every Christmas for the last 13 years. I tell them the story of Jesus. I tell them the story of St. Nicholas. I shout I’M THE ONE LEAVING THE GIFTS! I’M SANTA! And just that quick….in the words of my sweet husband….I was set free.
After hearing me spill it, little girl quickly chimes in and says…”So Santa’s dead!” We all laughed till our faces and sides hurt. The rush of freedom that washed over me is almost indescribable. It was all I could do to keep from crying tears of true joy. The Holy Spirit had helped me redeem Christmas for my family.
I do believe that this was the best Christmas that I have ever had.
The year I ratted out Santa!
Walking a little lighter,
I don’t in any way want anyone to think that I’m casting judgment or looking down on those that still celebrate Christmas with Santa. That’s fine…everyone has their own way. This was just something that the Holy Spirit convicted me of. This was part of the journey that God has me on. It was a time of growth for me. Every family has their own path and plan. This was ours. Thanks for understanding. FYI, my girls have been instructed not to go around spilling the beans to any other kids. I told them that this was something that was between kids and parents. Oh, and adults if you ask my four year old what Santa brought her for Christmas, she’s gonna say…”Mama is Santa….Santa is dead.” Just ask the clerk at the post office. ;)