Someone posted a request for my thoughts about the man in the big red suit.
I’ve jotted down some seemingly random points that will (hopefully) come together to form “What I think about Jolly Old St. Nick… at this point in life”:
* A couple of years ago, I researched why we English-speaking-folk say, “Jesus” instead of “Yeshua”. Does it make sense that we translate His name – the very name that will cause every knee to bow and every tongue confess His lordship??
My research revealed that some English-speaking people still do call Him “Yeshua”; they say that doing so is beautifully intimate. They also say, that although they wish all Christians would experience this level of intimacy with the God-man, they are thankful for the translation since the word “Jesus” is so often profaned.
Perhaps the use of “Jesus” is like a protection of that which is truly sacred… His true name: Yeshua.
* The Lord’s Feasts have always fascinated me. Ryan and I have celebrated the true Messianic Passover for several years and we love it. It’s sacred and good for us to reflect on the many “passovers” that God has completed in our own lives while we raise our glasses in celebration of the Passover Lamb.
This coming year, we plan to celebrate all seven of the Lord’s Feasts as they are described in the Old Testament. The Feast of Trumpets, for one, occurs in autumn. Biblical scholars believe that this was the actual season of Jesus’ birth; they also believe it will be the season of his return. How refreshing to celebrate His birth and return according to Scripture and Hebrew tradition… without the distraction of jingle bells, stocking-stuffers, and sugar cookies.
We are able, then, to enjoy the thrill of December 25 without feeling threatened: presents, folk-lore, red suits, sentimentality and all. After all, these really are a part of the Christmas season. What a fun holiday! Of course, like every other calendar day and every other celebration, Christ must be preeminent, so our primary goal is to honor Him, remember Him, and look for Him.Â But, we don’t get too worked up about the “ho ho ho’s”, “commercialism”, or “hub-bub” that surround the Christmas season; after all, it’s not the only day of the year in which we stop and celebrate Jesus’ miraculous birth.
Perhaps “Christmas”, too, is a protection of that which is truly sacred… Yeshua’s true arrivals: with the blast of trumpets!
* Being a literature buff, I’ve grown to value myths. Sometimes, myths communicate more truth than factual stories. Just think, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and George MacDonald have deeply affected history through their myths that aren’t true, but are – alarmingly – true.
I enjoy enriching Vivienne’s and Lia’s understanding by explaining that every story reflects the One True Story of the gospel of Jesus Christ; every plot is whittled down to a conflict: good vs. evil. Already, this has helped Vivienne make sense of villains and heroes. She looks for the “devil” figure; she looks for the “Christ” figure. (As she matures, she will learn that, although the devil is fully evil and Christ is fully good, stories about humans and figments simply represent evil and good, teaching us their complexities and consequences.)
She is also learning that other characters play integral parts in the larger story; just as we play integral parts in a larger story.
Santa Claus happens to be a figure in our story. He’s a figment of our cultural imagination, but who can deny that he’s an important one (for whatever reason)? Vivienne knows he represents jolly, generous, tender giving… No doubt, she’ll hear the lyrics that his generosity is conditional (you know that part about the coal in my stocking?). She thinks it’s fun that someone dresses up and acts the part… And that’s about it. He’s not a big deal in our home, one way or another.
* There are so so many fun and engaging Christmas activities to do that bring our hearts and minds to the Christ child, leaving very little room for a fascination or dependency on Santa Claus.
* Make of it what you will, but I haven’t told Vivienne what to say when someone asks, “Are you ready for Santa Claus to come?!” To me, this is a good opportunity for her to think, observe, and develop a response over time. (The way I figure it, I give her enough scripts for things that are more important and don’t afford an open-ended response!)Â I try to just stand back to hear what she says. So far, she hasn’t been caught off guard or confused; she hasn’t told anyone off,Â nor has she evangelically recited Luke 2. We’ll see how she processes these things over time. (Now, if they were to ask me, however, I might just bring out my bullet points about the Feast of Trumpets and the Almighty Lamb of God!)
(Interested in a Christian’s perspective on myth? Check out my former colleague’s fantastic book, From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy and then snuggle up with Tolkien’s The Hobbit.)
Teachable Tuesday is designed to share teaching ideas that specifically connect a child’s heart with God’s. What are you teaching this week?