Heartbroken

I am heartbroken. I’m devastated.

It happened.

Just like I knew it one day would, but it happened way too early.

My boys asked the question we, as parents, thought would one day come. We had an answer all rehearsed, but “the talk” never goes exactly as planned, does it?

The older neighbor boy exposed my boys to some information that they were way too young to hear.

I guess I should be thankful that they came to us to verify the information.

Still, I’m saddened that we had to have the conversation at all.

Randall took Isaac home from church on Saturday night. I had Asher in the car with me. We put the boys in bed and Randall and I got in bed ourselves and Randall told me that he and Isaac had talked about Algebra in the car. Three days later, Randall confessed what they had really talked about.

Isaac asked Randall the question.

I heard Asher ask Isaac the same question all week long. They must have talked about it at one point before Isaac got The Talk from Randall. I was in another room every time so I didn’t feel the need to answer quite yet, but I heard Isaac ignore the question three or four different times this week alone.

And then it happened. The boys and I were on our way out the door last night. Randall was holding Asher in his arms, saying goodbye, when Asher blurted out:

Do you think Santa is real?

Can you hear my heart breaking?

I replied quickly that Santa absolutely is real. His name was Nicholas and a long time ago he secretly gave presents to needy kids. And we keep his spirit alive every Christmas by giving to people we love. I confessed that Randall and I were the ones who put the presents under the tree, but Santa is absolutely real and you can tell everyone you know that you still believe in Santa.  I do!

We also mentioned that it’s a secret you learn, and you don’t get to tell anyone else.

Randall confessed that when he and Isaac had the talk in the car on Saturday, he told Isaac, “Don’t tell Asher, or your mom.”

It was a short conversation.

Asher accepted the news and went on with his evening. I dropped the boys off at my parents house last night and went to volunteer with my 11th grade girls at church.

My parents said they were asking the boys about Santa and talking about the elves and the boys seemed pretty quiet about it all.

I talked to my girls at church about it. We went around the whole circle and each told our memory of the moment we found out that our parents were putting the presents under our trees and signing Santa’s name.  It’s a defining moment in every kid’s life.  You never forget the moment you learned the truth about Santa.

I honestly had to blink away some tears.

I was told years ago to pay attention to tears. Your emotions tell you what’s going on in your heart. I’m really trying to figure out the root of my devastation of this simple conversation I had to have with my boys.

I think it represents the loss of magic at Christmas. I think it’s the loss of childlike wonder at it all. I think that conversation last night means the loss of a huge piece of childhood. As I listened to my 11th graders tell their stories, the majority of the girls were in third grade when they found out for sure. Isaac is in second grade and Asher is only 5! I am so angry at our 5th grade neighbor friend! He stole my kids childhood!

I don’t know how to have Christmas anymore. I don’t know if I should leave some gifts unwrapped (because Santa doesn’t wrap his gifts). I don’t know how to talk about presents with my kids. I don’t know if we should not visit Santa this year. I don’t know how to do Christmas!

I know there are a lot of Christians out there who never emphasize Santa because they fear that their kids will lump Jesus in with all of the other fictional characters we talk about.

I guess there is still wonder and magic and mystery about Christmas. I guess I can emphasize the truth about the indescribable event that happened 2000 years ago that we celebrate every year. Maybe I should be sad that we’ve never looked at the virgin birth of a perfect son who was fully human and fully God with as much wonder as we look at a fictional, albeit jolly man in a fuzzy red suit.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Santa. I’m his biggest fan! But maybe our Christmases are just going to be different from now on but not for the worse.

But for old times sake.  Here’s Santa through the years:

I’m convinced he’s the real one.

Just last year my boys sat in Santa’s lap as he read their cards and wish lists together.

 

<tear>   <sigh>

 

Wonders of His Love

I had horrible homework habits as a student.  I told myself I worked better under pressure and always saved my homework until the last minute.  The fact is, I only worked under pressure, so I have no idea how well I would have done if I would have given myself more time to complete each assignment.

I’ve tried to start my kids off from the beginning with good study habits.  They have way more homework than I ever remember having (I don’t think I had any homework until 3rd or 4th grade), but we already have a routine.  The boys come home and have a snack and waste time for a while, and then it’s straight to the table for homework, followed by at least 15 minutes of reading (also required by their teachers) before they can play with friends.

The other day when the boys got home from school I told them to grab a snack and get started on their homework while I took a quick shower.  As soon as I got upstairs, I heard them outside in the backyard.  I opened my bathroom window to yell at them to get to their homework, but a warm breeze hit me.

I looked down to see that the breeze was rattling my Ash tree.  Dozens of yellow leaves danced toward the ground.  Isaac was chasing each leaf, trying to catch them all in a cup in his hands.  They proved too fast and capricious for his small cup.

Asher grabbed a handful of leaves tossed them in the air and managed to catch a couple of his own.

I’m so glad that my boys still notice the allure of creation.

Oh, it just brought a smile to my face and a peace in my heart.

Depending on how the wind blows, we usually have a couple of days a week, where homework takes hours and the boys whine and complain the whole time.  This day, was not one of those days.  We decided to head to the deck and read outside and finish our homework there.  This was our view.

Oh, the difference a view can make!

I dread the coming months, when the leaves are long raked away and our bare trees open up a new scenery of a bright yellow and green building and a chain link fence.  When it’s too cold to expend all our energy outside, and the homework tears start rolling again…

But that’s in the future.  This is now.  And now, I’m going to enjoy the view.

 

God, may these boys, may I never lose the sense of wonder at the beauty of your creation.  May we never put a list of chores above noticing what you are doing around us.  Keep our eyes open and our souls in tune with your spirit.  Thank you for giving us this amazing world.  May we hold on to these moments in the sun when the dark clouds roll in and the colorful leaves are long gone and we’re left with little but a chill in the air.  May we find new beauty in pine trees and twinkling lights. Remind me then that the table is not a mandatory tool for homework. That a change of scenery can flip a mood. May we remember that each new season will come in it’s time, and never forget to enjoy the wonders of your love.

Home

There’s this idea floating around the Christian community that this world is not our home.  It’s a biblical concept that I think has gotten skewed.  Peter talks about it.  Paul talks about it.  We are reminded to live like citizens of Heaven, worthy to spread the Good News of Jesus.  Meaning, we are to live in a way that makes people want to know the Jesus we know.  It’s a concept that brings hope to many people.  When we feel like we just can’t take much more life on this earth, because it is hard and it is painful, we can have hope that this world is not the end.  Something much better awaits us.

It’s true, but it’s a dangerous concept, too.  I think there are many Christians that skew this thought and sit around just waiting for their future home in Heaven.  Like Chris Seay said in his Culture Maker Series talk, we go through this life as if this world is a public bathroom.  We try to get in and out without touching anything!

I hate to tell you this but: This world IS your home.  At the end of the end, God will make the world; everything we already know, NEW.  He created this world for you, for your pleasure!  In the beginning, He gave Adam and Eve a perfect garden.  Everything worked together.  Humans and animals were not afraid of each other.  Food was readily available for every living thing on this earth.  There was no sin; there was no pain.  Then we made a choice that shook the core of the earth.  Since that day, this world has not been what God created it to be, but it will again someday.  We’ll live in a new Heaven AND A NEW EARTH.

I know where the Christian artists are going with this thought, and I have beautiful friends that have been getting through each day with the hope that this world is not the end.  And they’re right. But I disagree with the #1 Christian song in America today.  This IS where we belong.  God put us here on this earth for today.  If we live life with the mind set that we are just waiting until the day that God takes us to our eternal home, then we are missing the WHOLE point of LIFE!!!

 

This world is absolutely amazing!  I think we’ve lost the wonder of it all.  Let me remind you.  Watch this.

It is absolutely breathtaking.  This world was created for YOU.  Enjoy it.  Remind others of its sheer wonder.  Take care of it.  Leave it more beautiful than you found it.  My boys are inheriting this world in this life.  Adam’s first job was to take care of the animals and land he was given.  After they sinned, God sent Adam out into the world to cultivate the land from which he came.

But even more than that, we have to use Jesus as our example as we LIVE in this world.  He didn’t treat it like a public bathroom, that’s for sure.  He got his hands dirty.  He got out in it and touched things and people that no one else would go near.

Paul talks in Philippians 1 about how dying would be better for him, but concludes that it’s best for everyone that he lives.  He said that in the last years of his life.  There are seasons when we just need to cling to the hope that Heaven awaits us, but for most of our lives, we need to live to the fullest.  Jesus came so that we may have LIFE and have it to the full.  He left us to go prepare heaven, but he came to show us how to live life here on earth.  Yes, this world is flawed, but we’re called to live as ambassadors for God.  Our job is to do our best to make it right again.

So, Go.  Live.

Enjoy this world.

This world IS our home.