South Africans very rarely associate Christmas with snow peaks and bob sleds... many of us spend Christmas Day on the beach with a braai of sorts and a cooler box of beer and lemonade. It is gorgeous -- quite simply an awesome way to spend the day!
It has been interesting seeing our children learn Christmas stories and songs at nursery school that we wouldn't think of teaching them in a million years -- not that we mind! We love hearing them sing "Santa take me in your sleigh, in your sleigh, in your sleigh..." We love hearing them talk about Father Christmas and how he lives in the North Pole with all the elves and brings all the good girls and boys presents. We've read them the Polar Express - a beautiful book - an oldie and a goodie. They absolutely LOVE Noddy Saves Christmas on DVD. There's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by our personal favorite, Dr Seuss, and a million other wonderful books and traditions to share.
However, there is one story that doesn't seem to come through that clearly with all the Santa Claus and consumerist hype... not even in the tradition of the Christmas Tree... and that is the story of Jesus. Where is he in all these songs and stories? Are my kids supposed to get him mixed up with Santa Claus? Or do we just "not go there" until they are older?
The truth is that there isn't any proof that Jesus was even born on Christmas Day. The date was originally the conclusion of a pagan festival named Saturnalia. The Romans decided to convert Saturnalia to a Christian festival when it suited them - in an attempt to convert their massive pagan population to the Christian faith. The only reason it has anything to do with Jesus is because the Romans decided that 25 December would be the day we celebrate his birth.
So what do we do with this day? Buy presents, have a blast, hang some mistletoe and move on? Dig deeper and decide the day isn't worth celebrating at all?
My personal view is that anything that shifts our focus to God is Good. Anything that reminds us of the birth of Jesus and all he did for us on the cross is Great. Giving each other presents in remembrance of the gift God gave for us... His one and only Son... that is something I am ready to jump into boots and all!
I guess the key, whether you're on the beach or knee-deep in snow, is just to make sure your kids know that the person we are celebrating is Jesus... Santa is just the messenger with a bag of presents over his arm.
This article originally appeared on www.halfdaymum.com - our mission is to help Mums who would like to "have it all" do it well!
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