I love childlike innocence - it just warms my heart. But beyond that, it reminds me about what's really important. Young kids (I'm certainly not including teenagers in this group ;-) seem to have the capacity to focus on exactly what's important (well, other than when they're saying the word "poop," "fart," and "burp" and laughing uncontrollably).
It's like our pastor spoke about at First Wednesday, referencing "Everything I really need to know about life I learned in Kindergarten." Remember? "Don't hit people" "Wash your hands before you eat" and "Flush"!
Well, I say all of this to lead into the story of what Lucy answers anytime someone asks her what she wants for Christmas.
And her answer is always..."A lunchbox" Then, she'll likely tell you that specifically she wants one because her current one doesn't stay closed well (It's a velcro strap that gets pulled when the contents of her bag fill up). And finally, as a perfect description, she'll tell you she wants one "like Audrey has" - of course - with a zipper and a purple one.
Here's her lunchbox:
Initially I was just tickled by her cute little christmas present request, but then I realized it's perfectly simple and somewhat opposite of what many children's christmas lists entail. It seems like today, kids are handed toy catalogs, encouraged to circle "anything they want", make long lists - with the expectation being that there will be a few "BIG" gifts they want - and they'll get. I'm not judging - I just mean to suggest that it seems like in one generation, Christmas gifts have gotten so extravagant. Jason and I were laughing about how it WAS a "big" gift for us to receive those metal lunchboxes with a colorful print or character on the front. Now, big gifts are $500 Ipads, PS3's, cell phones for five-year olds (okay, maybe I'm being slightly judgemental on that last one - I can't find a single reason a five year old needs a cell phone, but that's just me...)
And I know many adults easily agree, nod in agreement that our kids today are treated a bit extravagantly, perhaps muse about how it should be different, but then cover the floor under the Christmas tree with presents. Romans 12:2 comes to mind, a verse I keep on our fridge because I consider it a great reminder for me personally: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (NLT translation)
It seems society turns FIRST to what other people are doing - what other people consider the "norm" - and then follow suit: "Well, this is how everyone does it". As a Christian, I should turn FIRST to God, His Word, and let that influence my decisions and my beliefs.
For me, that means making the focus of Christmas on our Lord's birth, the wonderful stories surrounding that event, and letting "gift giving" be a reason to go to God in praise for all that we've been blessed with and given. I know my kids are young - and I haven't yet hit the period when my kids are obsessed with whatever that "big" gift might be - but it is my hope and my intention that the way we are celebrating Christmas now will be implanted in their mind and suffice. Santa brings three gifts to each child (just as Jesus received three gifts from the Magi), and our budget for those gifts remains small.
To keep myself accountable, I tallied up what Jack and LUcy's santa gifts cost (Lucy: lunchbox, doll station I bought off Craigslist, and an Aquadoodle - $72, and Jack: lunchbox, Thomas battery-operated train, and duffel bag/suitcase (because he really needs one and he'll think it's fun to climb in ;-) - $63. And I suppose one could even argue that $135 on two children is more than necessary, and I could even agree with them, but, this Christmas I'm very happy with this.
I love this time of year, the happy spirit that seems to be "in the air," the beautiful decorations and lights, delicious Christmas tree smells, and the time spent among family and friends. I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas season too!