Well, it’s been a year since the “What’s church” conversation. And we just had the "true meaning of Christmas" conversation. Oh my.
We were putting up the tree, and the kids asked if everyone in the world is decorating for Christmas. I told them some people don't celebrate Christmas, that they don’t believe in it. "That's sad," said my daughter. "That's crazy," said my son. I didn't say anything else, just let it marinate. About an hour later, tree decorated, garlands up, the “Seasonal” music channel playing through the TV, my daughter asked why some people don't celebrate Christmas.
Gather 'round, my children... Time for you to learn that Christmas is not about Santa and Rudolph and presents.
Here are some notable events from the conversation:
When asked, "Do you remember what 'God' is?" my son answered, "God is a grown-up word" (i.e. "Oh my God," which they are not allowed to say). So, um, that’s hilarious or awful, depending on your perspective. Once I reminded them about God making the earth and the sky and the animals and McDonalds, they clearly remembered. But…
They have both switched their positions since the original talk. My son is now on the "God is pretend" track, and my daughter is now a believer.
We talked about the pagan origins of the Christmas tree and evergreen garlands, showing how our modern version of Christmas comes from lots of different kinds of beliefs blended together, and how everyone believes something different.
I showed them the baby Jesus and nativity ornaments and told them the traditional Christian Christmas story. We also talked about the significance of the star, and the presents people brought for God’s special baby.
My daughter is clearly taken with the idea of a baby god. She likes baby things. A baby god? That is so right up her alley. She is all about the baby Jesus.
My son said that he thinks God didn’t have a baby. God had a clock tower. Um, huh? “Why a clock tower?” I asked. “Because clock towers are really real, and God isn’t,” he said.
Um, OK. Good talk.