During the holiday season, I like to spend time reflecting not only about Christmas’s past but also what I’ve learned, or maybe even what I’ve taught, throughout the year.
As a parent the opportunities to teach, and learn, are limitless and one that stands out in my memory is from a Christmas Eve about ten years ago.
My two, who were about 4 and almost 3 on this particular Christmas had been talking incessantly for days, maybe even weeks, about what Santa might be bringing them. They examined the packages already wrapped under the tree for hours each day. Their anticipation of the big day was palpable. It was quickly becoming a fifth member of the family.
Now I am not a religious person, nor was I raised in a particularly religious home. My husband however was. He finally decided that all of the talk of commercialism needed a little balance.
We took the children to sit in front of the tree, and with the lights of the tree twinkling merrily, we began to explain the story of Mary and Joseph. I let my husband take the reins on this one… I only know the vague outline and didn’t want to screw up this important moment.
“A long time ago, there was a woman named Mary…” my husband began.
The children listened to the story with rapt attention.
“… and so when the baby was born Mary and Joseph named him Jesus Christ…”
“JEEE-SUS CHRIST?!” My 4 year old chimed in, mimicking my oftentimes frustrated tone of voice to perfection.
My husband glowered at me over their little heads.
“So we’ll try again next year.” I offered weakly.
The lesson that I came away with was that perhaps it’s what we’re teaching when we don’t even realizing we’re doing it, that resonates most loudly.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!