It's a little late in the game to issue you an Advent challenge. Instead, as my gift to you this Christmas Eve, I'm turning over this blog space to a distinguished guest author: my eight-year-old daughter.
First, some background information: In our household we've always tried to focus much more on Jesus than Santa during Advent and Christmas. I want to tread lightly here because what, how and when children learn about Santa is a decision best made by individual parents. So I don't intend to blatantly spill any secrets here. But I will say that my daughter has always felt "important" knowing the real deal about Santa.
She knows that others have different thoughts about Santa and is careful not to spoil things for anyone else. And I'm not just talking about other kids. A couple of years ago after Christmas Mass, the priest knelt down and asked her if Santa came to her house and brought her gifts. She smiled and adorably and innocently dodged the question because she didn't want to ruin it for the priest just in case he was still waiting for the jolly guy in a red suit to squeeze down the chimney in the rectory.
Just the other day we attended Breakfast with Santa at our parish. Santa himself asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Just like with the priest, she artfully danced around the question not wanting to reveal anything to Santa that might surprise him and Mrs. Claus.
Now, let's get back to the main point. My younger daughter is two. So this year the big one decided to give the little one some sisterly advice and explain how some families celebrate Christmas differently. She made a Christmas card for her little sister. Now I will share with you the text of that card.
Merry ChristmasTo: [Little Sister]From: [Big Sister]Dear [Little Sister],Understanding that this is only your [third] Christmas that maybe you might not know what to do. I decided to make a story for you about Christmas in two ways. The way that some people celebrate Christmas, and the way that we celebrate it. So get comfortable and read the two stories.Love,[Big Sister]Story 1 - How other people celebrate itYou may write a letter to Santa Claus and expect to see maybe no cookies on the plate you made, with no milk in the cup for drinking and no more whatever you put in the plastic bag for Rudolph.Story 2 - How we celebrate itYou would go to church that Sunday or the next and go to relatives' house or them come to you. You would celebrate at the fact that Jesus was born about, I don't know how many years ago it was, but... you know.
[For the rest of this post, please hop over to Austin Catholic New Media.]