As my son gets older, I’ve been trying to think of ways to allow him to enjoy all of the fun and games surrounding Christmas without letting “Santa” steal the show. I don’t want him to not be allowed to participate in fun things, but I want him to know very clearly that the magical man in a red suit is pretend and Jesus Christ’s birthday is very, very real. I began to research more about St. Nicholas. According to www.stnicholascenter.org, Nicholas was believed to have been born around AD 260-280. The site goes on to say, “His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.” From the stories of St. Nicholas, legends were born and the tales grew more and more exaggerated. St. Nicholas was known to give his gifts in secret, not asking for credit. Therefore, when St. Nicholas died, the anniversary of his death became a time to follow his example in giving gifts in secret. That anniversary is December 6th. Over time, the celebrations were moved to Christmas and commercialism took over. One thought is to share the story of St. Nicholas with our son and for all of us to “play Santa” for one another starting December 6th. He could “be” Santa too, and still play along when others talk about Santa or ask him what Santa is bringing him for Christmas. I can think of lots of fun traditions for our family that could start with all of us playing Santa in December. Special little gifts left in surprise places, a sweet note here or there, fixing a deluxe cup of hot chocolate, surprising a stranger by paying for a meal… no one taking credit. The possibilities are endless. I appreciate the idea of St. Nicholas obeying Jesus’ instructions by serving others. I know kids will be kids, and with little concept of cost, they are going to want every toy they see in the stores. However, I want to teach from an early age that Christmas time is about serving others as Christ instructed. After all, that puts the focus back on the meaning of Christmas, right? In a season that has been so inundated with the me-me-me’s, we all need a reminder to be Christlike and focus on others. We can read the reminder of St. Nicholas’ life, then allow that thought to lead into Christmas to worship the Christ-child. What Christmas traditions do you all have to bring the focus back to Christ? What things could you do around Christmas time to lovingly serve your spouse? On a side note, it has officially been 1 year since I first began to contribute here. Thank you, Edward for allowing me to be a part of the EYM family!! Merry Christmas to you all!! Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at www.aftertherainn.com and sign up for the mailing lists!
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