Unholy but Honest

Sunday, December 18, 2011  ::  

The Christian blog world and Facebook are abuzz with moms and dads who are super holy. Starting a few weeks ago, I began to read all kinds of posts and status updates about scaling back, kids who were willing to give up receiving any gifts, and using all the money to build wells or buy goats for villages. Turns out, I don't fit in as much. I'm just not as holy as the rest.

This is the paragraph that I want to use to justify myself by listing the ways my family has given this year. But I'm not going to do it. It's between my family and God. So, I'll fight the urge to try to prove to you that I really am holy and move right along.

The thing is I like to buy gifts for my kids. It literally makes me giddy. Christmas giving in our house isn't marked with extravagance, but we do stretch ourselves to give to good causes AND to give to our kids.

Filling their stockings excites me. I love finding little unique treasures for each child. Completely stuffing them until they are overflowing is always my goal. I love to watch them take it all in on Christmas morning. Their joy fills me up!



And the unholiest thing of all? We do Santa! This summer Morgan and Carah finally started asking questions about whether or not Santa was real. They are in fourth grade. Kyle and Esther figured out that Santa wasn't real earlier than their sisters, but Kyle and Esther are mathematicians and scientists. Morgan and Carah are artists and dreamers. But let me tell you, the deep love each one of my four precious kids have for Jesus often blows me away. In no way at all do I think telling my kids that Santa came into our house while they were sleeping, ate a plate of cookies, and left gifts for them betrayed them or made them think we were liars. In fact, I think it enhanced their imaginations, and allowed them to dream and get excited about something completely magical.  We've told our kids that Santa will still visit as long as they don't start saying that Mom and Dad are Santa. Are you shuddering at my unholiness?


This week when I was practically skipping through stores shopping for stocking stuffers for my kids, I was hit with the delight that God must enjoy in giving gifts to us. If my joy can be made so profound in blessing my own kids, wouldn't God's joy be so much more? As my kids light up with the new pajamas or perfect little ornament Chad and I have picked out for them, my heart fills up. When I realize what God is giving me and enjoy His gifts like a child, doesn't He also love it?


Maybe it isn't ok in a wacky Christian sub-culture to say that I like to make, buy, and give gifts to my kids. Honestly, I'm totally ok with not fitting into that mold. This Christmas we will read the story of Jesus' birth many times. We will sing carols. We will read The Night Before Christmas. When the kids go to bed, Chad and I will put our Santa hats on and stuff stockings and lay out gifts for each child. When they wake up (waaay too early) we will watch them excitedly enjoy their gifts. And with love for our kids and worship towards our God we will enjoy giving good gifts to each of them!


Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to you?   


13 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Jenn said...

Great post. You are an amazing mom who has done an incredible job of balancing Jesus, giving, Santa, gifting, family, community for your kids.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an honest, healthy way to approach Christmas. Yes, the material side can overshadow the spiritual importance of the holiday-- but only if you allow it. You seem to have a healthy balance, Angel. Treasure and protect it.

Crystal said...

I'm trying to take your advice to not get too uptight..esp as I'm sleep deprived with sick kids...but i do think we can give our kids the gift of sharing Christmas with villagers AND enjoy giving them material gifts and no one need be "holier than thou". We are geographically in a position to do that...being in a geographic position to skip through a Target is appealing today, though!

Tessa Hogge said...

Awesome post! And I agree with you and feel the same way. Merry Christmas to you!!!

hannah singer said...

i adore you. amen amen!! xo

Unknown said...

Fantastic :-)

Angela DeSoto said...

I know you heard my thoughts on this when we chatted earlier, but I wanted to give you a blogging high-five! Thanks for writing this.
I especially liked that you resisted the temptation to list the ways that you have given in order to justify your point... THAT'S authenticity.
Another thing I liked was that Jasper is holy too, he was definitely enjoying the Jesus story in the living room with the kids :).

Jen Griffith said...

Thank you Angel for this post, I was excited to read it and it is so relatable :) Love your realness!! Love you and your awesome Jesus loving family so very much!

Kristine @ JandMs Eye Candy said...

I love your approach and am sharing this post on our networks! THANK YOU for writing what I've been feeling, but didn't know how to express. I have an almost 17 month old baby girl and almost 3 month old baby girl and trying to figure out this "Christmas" balance (even tho they are still so young) has been terrifying for me lol! They aren't even old enough to "get it" but we've been talking about how we will approach it. Again thank you!

Sara said...

Love this, love you, love your family. Wonderful. :)

Erin Chute said...

I LOVE this perspective, Angel! I can speak as a child who grew up in a home where Santa was definitely real for quite a while. I admit Jesus was not as in the picture as he should've been, but looking back on the excitement of Santa makes me "miss him" just a tiny bit. I know that my goal when I start having kids is to keep Jesus in his rightful place, but add a little dash of Santa too :) Thanks for sharing!

Les said...

Good post. I don't think those of us who are "scaling" back love giving gifts to our kids any less. I get really excited buying/making something I know my kids are going to love. I'm just trying to make it less of the focus this year. I am trying to not get so caught up with all the ""must do's" to pull off Christmas that I miss out on quality time with my kids.

Angel said...

@Les, I totally agree! I love doing stuff with my kids as much as I love giving things to them. Scaling back is a great thing in our culture of extreme excess. As I continue thinking through everything it really boils down to carefully choosing gifts that I know my kids will love instead of loading them up with a ton of thoughtless junkie stuff that ads tell me they can't live without.

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