Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Present

I am more excited for Christmas than I've been since I was a little kid. As parents of a perceptive three-year-old, we have been conscious of how we present Christmas. We do Santa Claus, but we don't talk about it much. I feel like she will learn about that without us teaching her. But we talk about Jesus and the story of his birth every day. She plays with her Little People nativity scene; she and Emerie stand in front of it and try to elbow each other out of the way. Today, Mary is a single mother-- Joseph is probably under the couch again. She's standing at the manger alone. Other days, there's been a donkey on top of the manger, a princess with a magic wand bearing gifts and once, inexplicably, Noah was at the birth of Jesus. It's important to me that my kids have a happy, exciting childhood; I want Christmas to be important and spiritual, but also magical. It's a tall order.

We've been talking about what it means to be thankful and kind; that not everyone has enough, not everyone gets to live in a warm house or open Christmas presents, and that God wants us to share what we've been given. We adopted a family, a single mother and three children who lost their house in a fire and their father in court. It's been a horrible year. But she's going back to school and working in her field. She emailed me last week to tell me her seven-year-old daughter was student of the week. Things are looking up. I have tried to include Mirabella in the shopping and in the story. I'm proud that she didn't ask to keep the presents-- she is excited to give them away.

Living in the city, we drive past homeless people on a daily basis. One bitter-cold night, as we drove past the arena that is lined with blanket-covered shopping carts, she noticed a man on the street. "Dat man doesn't got shelter, Mommy?" I told her no, not everyone has a home. "But we got a home, Mommy." I asked her what we should do. "He can come live at our home, Mommy. We can share." I almost cried; I was unprepared for her innocent logic.

Often I feel like I'm making it up as I go. I don't have all the answers for her. But I am so thankful for every day with my sweet children. I mentioned to a woman at church how exciting Christmas is now. She is in town from New Zealand for six months to care for her new granddaughter. "It is such an awesome privilege," she said, "to experience all of the wonder of life through their eyes."

Mirabella was sick yesterday, on her birthday. I told her she could take a sparkly princess bath and filled the tub with bubbles and the yellow and pink sprinkles that had been on her birthday cake. This morning, seeing the sprinkles still on the counter, she said, "Mommy, 'ank you for my pink and yellow 'parkly princess bath. 'Ank you for buying dose 'prinkles." I feel like I should thank her for letting me be a part of it.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Here's to finding joy and wonderment in the smallest of miracles.

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