Monday, October 28, 2013

Bob is Watching You!

Maybe I'm more like Scrooge than Bob Cratchit but it annoys me to see Christmas decorations being sold in stores at the beginning of October. For crying out loud, let me enjoy the fall decorations before I have to stare at all things red and green. I feel like by the time my kids graduate middle school the Christmas "season" will last all year round. It's rubbing off on my kids and I think that's one of the reasons why it's driving me bananas. 

We started doing The Elf on the Shelf in our house last year. I just bought the cheaper plush elf without the book because I wasn't even sure how the kids would respond to the whole thing. I don't even know what the story behind it all is, but I told them that "Bob" (I wasn't feeling creative when I named him) was the elf assigned to our home by Santa to keep an eye on them so Santa could keep busy on toys and not have to worry about "the list" so much. Bob made his first appearance on the day after thanksgiving and every morning till Christmas. He showed up in their bath tub, their cereal bowls, he made them tiny elf pancakes, set up a cookie decorating party for them and some friends, read the Christmas story from the Bible to the Nutcracker Boys (the "gang" I created with all the nutcrackers I collect) and much more. Little did I know that Bob would become cooler then Santa himself...

Several weeks ago, I overheard my oldest (5) say to her brother (4), "You better stop touching my toys because Bob is watching and he'll put you on the naughty list and you won't get any presents for Christmas!!!" My first reaction was towards her unkind words. I'm dealing with that ongoing problem separately. My second issue was the fact that the kids were already thinking about and talking about a Bob. My third problem was that I knew that once again, the wrong part of Christmas was being focused on. So I went into her room, pulled all three kids together and we had a chat. I explained the following: 

1) Christmas really has nothing to do with Santa or Bob. * All three kids are fully aware that Christmas is "Jesus' Birthday" (or at least the day we celebrate it). And we celebrate HIS birthday because it was on that day, our Savior, the Son of God, began fulfilling the prophesies and promises of his birth, death, resurrection and saving of those who choose to accept who and what He is. * 

2) When it is someone's birthday, THEY get gifts, not the guests. The guests GIVE gifts. Then we talked about what gifts Jesus would want for his birthday like obedience and kindness and honesty and love and HOW we could give those gifts. Keeping their rooms clean. Helping each other with chores. Sharing. Not giving Mom and Dad attitude. Being encouraging. Telling others about God's love. Being honest. Going to bed early so Mommy can take a bubble bath. Keeping completely silent so Mommy can snooze. Letting Mommy have all the Haloween candy. Wait... I'm just kidding on those last three... Kinda... 

3) Bob works for Santa who works for God so really, Bob works for God too. If a Bob and Santa think a kid deserves to be on the "naughty list", is that kid obeying God? Chances are "no". So the best way to please Santa or Bob is to obey God. They answer to Him and it's their job to make sure His plan is carried out or His expectations are met. (This made my five year old daughter cry. It wasn't my intention at all to make her feel guilty with this lesson but it let me know that she understood what I was telling her.) 

I'm not a total Scrooge I guess. I love Christmas time. I love what we're (some of us at least) celebrating. Hope. Joy. Salvation waiting for us. I'm choking up just thinking about it. I love to celebrate birthdays (except my own) and to get to celebrate such a special birthday is awesome. And I'm into the Santa/Bob thing. I'm a product of a loving Christian home that had Santa in it at Christmas. I turned out just fine and am very aware of what Christmas is all about. I also to this day, bake cookies for and write letters to the man in the red suit. I think it IS possible for children to know the true meaning of the season and still get to wake up each morning excited to see what "sneaky ol Bob" did this time. 

I am, however, not quite ready to see his sneaky little face yet. Or the Christmas isle completely stocked at Walmart. Or the fake trees being sold at SAMs club... And I think I need a little more time to try to work my way back on to the "nice list" anyway... 

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