Our Christmas Lesson

11:12 AM

I diagnosed Cameryn with a case of too much Christmas.  Every commercial, every magazine, every toy that she sees, she wants it.  Even if she already has it, she wants it.  Because it's new!  It's improved!  It's shiny and sparkly and she just has to ask Santa for it and if he doesn't bring it, please, oh please, can someone please give it to her?

She's four and innocent and excited about Christmas.  Her eyes light up each and every time I turn on the Christmas tree lights.  She loves to drive around the neighborhood to see the lights, ooohing and ahhhing at every turn.  She tells random people Merry Christmas. 

Last week as I was reading Cameryn a book before bed, the book was about the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem.  Cameryn listened the first few pages but then grabbed the book out of my hands, closed it, and said, "This book is not about Christmas.  Where is Santa?  We are not reading this one."  I finished the book and then I picked up her {children's} Bible and we read the Christmas story.  We talked about the true meaning of Christmas.  The angel, the star, Jesus.  All of it.  There was no mention of Santa and instead we focused on what God gave to us and why.  His true gift. 

Admittedly, we don't go to church. I am spiritual and raise my children to be the same, but we don't go to church every week. I have been saying, for months, that I want to find a 'home' congregation, we just haven't found one that we are comfortable in yet.  I was upset that night, mainly with myself, for not taking her to church, for not allowing her the choice accept Christ in her life.  Because I think that she should have that choice.  What a selfish, ungrateful child we have created.  We give and give and give to her without showing her what it means to give to someone else.  I failed her, and that falls on me.  Her entitled attitude weighed heavily on my heart for several days. 

I made it a point to talk about the true meaning of Christmas every single day.  To point out the specials times that we have as a family, that these times mean more than any superficial wrapped gift that we receive.  I let Cameryn know that she is the only one who can make Jordin really giggle for several minutes, that the love they share is unbreakable.  I was quick to remind her how lucky she was that her Grandma drove an hour and a half to walk with her during the parade on Sunday.

I often asked myself if any of this was getting through to her.  She's four, she won't truly understand, but she's smart and she should grasp most of it.  Right? 

During Thanksgiving, Grandma gave us $20 for a tree topper for the kids tree at her house, but she ended up using leftover ribbon and making a big bow for the tree topper instead.  I had $20 in my pocket and boy, I could do a lot with that $20.  This mama needs some highlights!

God had other plans.

I walked into our office building and there was a tree set up with "angels."  The angels were from a local safe house for women and children and this year they were encouraged to ask for toys instead of necessities.  As I stood there waiting for the elevator I looked at these angels. 

Girl, 4 yo, Tinkerbell movie.
Girl, 12 yo, stuffed giraffe. 
Boy, 5 yo, Lightning McQueen car. 
Mom, 28 yo, Reba cd. 
Girl, 2 yo, winter coat. 
Boy, 6 yo, long pants. 
Girl, 7 yo, underwear. 
Mom, 47 yo, sweater. 

I knew, right then and there, what my $20 was for.  I heard the arrival ding of the elevator several times as I walked round and round the tree.  I chose two, one boy and one girl, and went to Toys R Us on my lunch break.

Last night as I brought out the gifts to wrap, I showed them to Cameryn.  We talked about the toys and what they were for.  First, she thought that they were gifts for victims of superstorm Sandy.  No, I told her, these gifts are for people in our town. 

"But, why, Mommy?"

"Well, baby, some people have had bad things happen.  Their mom and dad can't work and they have no money, or food, or clothes, or toys, and no place to live.  Sometimes they have a mean mom or dad and they have to get out of their house in order to be safe.  Sometimes bad things happen, like a fire, and they lost everything.  There are a lot of reasons, Cameryn.  Our family is very lucky that we have so many things.  You are a lucky girl to have so many people that love you."

My sweet girl sat there for a few minutes, eyeing up the stuffed giraffe that I had purchased for a 12 year old girl.

"Mommy, I will give some of my gifts from Santa to them.  I don't need all of my gifts.  They need them more than me."

My throat went tight and I turned my head as tears poured down my face.  That moment was so humbling, for the both of us.

My sweet girl, she exudes the Christmas spirit. 



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