Dec 26, 2010

A True Christmas Miracle - Guest Post by Janeen

Alright, Em wanted me to write a guest entry for her blog about how our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went down.  I’m sure there are people out there like us who, in desperation, have threatened that Santa would not make a visit if the wee ones did not shape up.  And then the children were still naughty and the parents were left wondering, “So… what next?...”

I don’t need to go into detail about why our Christmas Eve was not so Merry and Bright – something about four little kids grumbling over dinner and/or fighting/complaining/whining about doing chores, having to be asked multiple times to do something (or not do something)…etc.  I wasn’t feeling jolly and neither was my husband.  I didn’t feel like I could deal with their orneriness much longer so instead of doing all of our normal family traditions for the night (acting out the pageant, the family talent show, reading Night Before Christmas, and a service project) we just read the book and put them to bed.

Then we hatched our plan… we were going to call Santa and tell him to turn around and then we’d also return all of the other gifts!  No--I’m kidding, the thought crossed our minds, but we thought that was a little harsh for our kids (ages 8, 6, 3 & 1 ½)!  
Instead, we got in touch with one of Santa’s Elves and he radioed Santa Claus with the news – Christmas would be a little bit different this year.

When Santa arrived, he arranged a few stuffed animals into a manger scene around the Baby Jesus who he lovingly placed in a basket right next to our Christmas tree. He placed all of the presents in the laundry room, and closed the door. Then he typed up a letter for the kids and left it by his empty plate.  

This is what the letter said:

Dear T, L, I & E,
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  I am guessing that you are probably a little surprised that there are no presents under the Christmas tree.  Before you get too disappointed, I want you to read this letter.  I want you to know that I know you are very good boys and girls and that you did very well this year. BUT, there have been a few times this year that my elves and I have looked at each other and said, “Oh no!  We don’t want to put them on the ‘Naughty List’ but they sure aren’t doing what they should be doing!”  Last night was one of those nights.  That is why I decided to do something a little different this year.  I did bring you gifts, but before I tell you where they are I want to talk to you about the true meaning of CHRISTMAS. 
CHRISTMAS is all about celebrating the birth and life of JESUS CHRIST and everything He did for us.  Christmas is NOT about me!  I am just a symbol of giving and the joy that people have when they receive and when they give a wonderful gift.  JESUS CHRIST gave us some of the greatest gifts of all.
Do you remember from your Spanish class what “MAS” means?  It means “MORE”.  So at CHRISTMAS we should think of CHRIST MORE and tryMORE to do what CHRIST would do.  He taught us to do many things like obeying your parents, helping others, and being peacemakers.  These are things that I want you to work on this next year. 
So right now your parents are going to read to you the real CHRISTMAS story.  When the story is over I want you to look under the baby JESUS for a clue to help you find your Christmas presents.
Have a very Merry CHRISTMAS!!!!

P.S.  Thank you for the goodies you left.  That is one handsome guy on the plate you used!

(The CLUE page was folded and placed under the baby Jesus.  This is what it said):
The clue to the location of your presents is:
One of the greatest gifts that Jesus has given us is that He made it possible for us to be WASHED CLEAN of all our sins.

On Christmas morning, the oldest two came running into the living room and said with very sad looks on their faces, “Oh no! … He didn’t come!”  My husband talked with them for a minute, all of them bummed together that there weren’t any gifts, and then he lead them over to where the empty plate was on the table to find the note. 

They read the note and got really excited.  They came to get me and our 3 year old up (it was still 5 in the morning so we weren’t going to get the little one up just yet) and we read through Luke 2 together as a family.  We talked about it for a minute and then found the rest of the gifts with the help of the clue.  

The kids were talking about it for the rest of the day and when they explained it to all of the well-wishers who called they were quick to point out it was because they weren’t making good choices.  

I’d rather there were no gifts and just stories of Christ’s birth and life, than Santa and presents and no mention of Christ’s name, but I think there is room enough for all as long as there is more focus on why we celebrate in the first place. 

Most of the time, as a parent, I’m wondering what the heck I’m doing – I should have achieved Expert Parenting status since I have four kids, right? Yet it seems like the more kids I have, the less adequate I feel. We have talked about why we celebrate Christmas all along, but it seemed to be falling on deaf ears.  Happily, on this rare occasion our message was well received and peace reigned for the afternoon at least.   

That night, my oldest child thanked Heavenly Father in his prayers for teaching him the true meaning of Christmas.  (I guess Santa got through in a way we couldn't.). 

And so our "Santa Experiment" was successful and this year the spirit of Christ was able to join us for Christmas!!!

***Editor's Note:  Janeen wrote this.  I edited it a tiny bit.  Can't help myself.***
***Thanks Janeen!  You guys are obviously extremely awesome, wonderful parents.  RIGHT READERS???***


Anonymous said...

I think Janeen and her husband did a fabulous job following through on their Santa threat. Nice job on the manger and the letter from Santa. It's so hard to be parents and hard to balance the world's view of Christmas with the true gifts of the Savior. Kudos

LaLa said...

Cool! Christ was very present during our Christmas this year too. It was the best!!

Miss you guys!

Linz said...

Wow! Good job to Janeen and hubby! I am sure they will remember this for the rest of their lives! Well done!! Thanks for sharing!

AnnaYoung said...

A Genius Idea. Wait, genius. . . or inspired?! ; ) I love it either way!

Melissa Abby said...

That's awesome!

Anonymous said...

That's great! Except that you got up at 5am! That's crazy!!!!


Pish Posh, @imakeagoodhat said...

Janeen handled this amazingly! "Expert Mom +10" I hope I can hold down the fort as well when the time comes.