The holiday season is equally filled with the truth of Christ’s birth as well as the story of Santa. Some would actually argue that it’s more about Santa … I’ve often wondered about what the perfect balance is to keep the Christmas spirit alive … how much effort do you really need to put forth to keep Santa ‘real’ for our little ones?
We’ve adopted the Elf on the Shelf to our holiday traditions this year. We have had a lot of fun finding Snowball-Owen (Jaden named him) all over the house doing things like hanging from the ceiling fan, on top of the xmas tree, playing with Jaden’s toys and so on. It’s incredible how easily Jaden believed that this little plastic doll comes to life in the middle of the night to create a little mischief (and of course report to Santa on if he is being naughty or nice).
If only our own faith is as easy as a child makes it appear to be. One part of Jaden’s prayer with Isaac (see A Play Date for Jaden) keeps finding it’s way into my daily thoughts. “If he [Owen] is ok, will you send me a sign?”
When growing up my sister liked to test the concept of all those imaginary characters we tell children about (the Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny). She’d leave notes asking if they would leave her just a little something to let her know that they were real. Just a little sign to know that she could keep believing. My mom went to great lengths to keep her Christmas magic alive. She was up until the wee hours of the night painting golden eggs from the Easter Bunny and finding the perfect white fluff from Santa’s coat. If you ask my mom about it – she will groan and start to say what a pain Rachael was about these things. But if you get her talking enough – she’ll begin to tell you how she secretly loved it. She had fun and took delight in fueling the magic.
Here is where I get torn – Jaden is asking for a sign from God. My first reaction was to find something to leave out for Jaden to show him that God is real. I want to teach him that God listens to your prayers – He hears you when you reach out to Him. But isn’t this where faith is supposed to take over? Believing in something you can’t see? Wouldn’t I be starting something much larger that could potentially set him up for disappointment and doubt later? God doesn’t always answer your prayers … Garth Brooks song anyone? Or at least He doesn’t answer them the way we hope He will or in the timing we want Him to.
I just don’t want the magic to die for him. I love that he chose to pray when he missed his brother. It’s something I sometimes forget to do myself. My mother reminded me that rather than step in – I should sit back and pray about it myself. Lift Jaden up in prayer that he might receive the reassurance and comfort he needs. I should cultivate his relationship with God with prayer rather than control. Perhaps my thought to intervene is proof of my own doubt. Maybe God has a far better way to reassure him that Owen is in heaven. As much fun and delight I would have working hard at night, planning something orange for Jaden to wake up to – I’ll kneel instead. I’ll fold my hands and bow my head.
Dear God, Thank you for blessing me with such a wonderful and faithful boy Jaden. You know his heart far better than I ever will. I pray that you will offer him the comfort and reassurance he needs to know that his brother Owen is in heaven with you. May he feel your love even when he is uncertain. Let the answers to his questions lead back to you. Protect him and guide him in places I cannot. In Jesus’ name, Amen.