One day you will have questions for your Daddy and I, I am sure of it. There will come a day when you will, in quiet breath, ask why the man in red does not come to our house. And we will have to answer, honestly.
Every year, you will see, that with quiet anticipation we will ready ourselves for the day when gifts are found under the tree. We will pin our hand sewn characters upon the felt tree, reading in earnest the story of Christmas, all while we wait the 24 days until THE day. And along the way there will be carols sung, gifts given, cookies made; all trying to celebrate the most wonderful time of year. But because you are smart, you will notice that there is no big to do about clatter on the roof and a grand entrance through our missing fireplace.
Before you are even that old, you will realize that something is missing. Around you as we wait you will watch movies of a man in a big red suit, sing songs about a reindeer with a bright red nose, and you will read of the train that takes you to the most magical place in hopes that one can hear the twinkle of a bell. People will ask if you’ve been good, if you deserve presents under the tree. They will tell you that he’s watching, to make sure that you’ve been good. Coal would be the consequence, they will whisper, for boys and girls who have been bad.
And I’m sure you will wonder, as I have, why no little boys or girls actually get coal. Because you will remember the times that you have not been good. Even if nobody has noticed. What you will witness around you is what has evolved into the greatest time of year and greatest time of indulgence. And we hope for you it is. But in different ways.
Because this is the greatest time of year.
Thousands of years ago, in a place not so far away, a baby was born. And His life has changed everything. You know of Him of course, and we pray one day you will have Him as your best and closest confidant. And during this time of year, we will celebrate His birth. When you get older, I’m not sure if mangers will decorate lawns, or if the true story of Christmas will be told. But in our house, you will know…how the donkey led the way, with Mary on its back. How a woman with your name, rejoiced over the baby in Mary's tummy, and whose son proclaimed His worth. You will know, there were shepherds and angels and the magi who came with shouts of acclimation to see this tiny baby.
You will know and will have heard that this little baby, well He does know everything. All the good, all the bad, all the sorrow and all the joy. And when the day comes when you ask about the man in red, we will say “there has been much ado about santa but honey, the story started way before him.” And we will tell you that he is just like Dora, or Mickey Mouse, or Caillou. Pretend.
Because that’s the truth. And more than anything momma and daddy want to be honest with you so you know you can be honest with us.
And there will be some, I’m sure, with whom you let this news slip. Who truly believe that the man in red really does keep score. And they might not believe you or may be upset that you spoiled the fun. And when you ask why we’ll tell you again the truth.
Momma and daddy have been changed to the core by the One who was born at Christmastime. He has held our hands as tears flowed, He has rejoiced with us and mourned, He has given and taken, He is our life. And because He asks us to teach you about Himself (Deut. 6:6-9), to tell you of the stories of long ago, to be truthful and honest…we will obey. and though I’m sure we will often fail, we are always going to try to make much of Him. Even when the world thinks otherwise.
So at Christmastime, we will celebrate this amazing birth, that has changed the whole world and we will sing happy birthday to the one whose day it is. And along the way we will sing of the reindeer with the red nose, and watch the elves set up shop up north, and we will read of the clatter on the roof. But most of all we will stand in awe of Jesus, the baby born in the manger, and we will sing of His birth and read the accounts that tell THE story.
And there will be presents under the tree, for you, whether you have been good or bad. There will be presents because at His birth, the magi brought gifts to celebrate the most wonderful birth that ever was. There will be gifts because gifts are a part of celebrating. And more than that, there will be gifts given to those who long for necessities, for those who need, and we want you to rejoice in giving. Gratefulness, we pray, will be on our hearts, generosity will flow from our hands, and love will extend from one another.
And if you get bigger, Elizabeth, and you wonder or you are frustrated that your family was such a downer during the greatest time of year, just celebrating this baby and downplaying the man in red, then we will tell you that we are sorry. That we never meant to disappoint or steal the “fun” of the season. And we will mean it, because your disappointment will be breaking our hearts. But we hope that when you are older, you will, with eager hands and excitement in your heart, revel in giving generously, singing joyfully about the babe in the manger, and with anticipation and thankfulness, open gifts that have been wrapped under the tree.
We hope and pray that one day this babe will change your whole life. And that, Elizabeth, is why we make much ado about Jesus.
love you baby girl,