As soon as the last of the Thanksgiving turkey was packed away, the first of the Christmas decorations were dragged out of the closet. As always at our house, the season is a mishmash of Santa and Baby Jesus, reindeer and the three wise men. Along with many other parents, we struggle with balancing the "What do you want for Christmas?" message with the "True meaning of Christmas!" message.
We find our children making Santa lists while helping to set out the Nativity Scene.
We move quickly from "Silent Night" to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" in our ipod favorites list.
We open our Advent Calendar window panes each night and read the bible verse, after having just logged on to the "Portable North Pole" website where we can track the elves' progress.
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It's a crazy time of year. The combination of messages in unavoidable. With a seven and a four-year-old, each year provides some new blending of the two. This year may have delivered one of the best.
Having discussed the birth of the Baby Jesus at preschool, our four-year-old carefully reviewed the details of the story for us at dinner. She impressively recounted "no room at the inn," shepherds, the star, the manger and the three wise men. As she and I happened to be cleaning up, she carried the bread basket from the table to the counter. Suddenly, she ran from the room, still carrying the metal woven basket.
Back she came, with her favorite baby doll, wrapped in a blanket and fitting, perfectly, in the bread basket.
Looking up at me, she announced "It's baby Jesus and this is his manger! Now, he can ride safely in the sleigh!"
Off she marched and off I went to wash the dishes. Some things are better left alone.