Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas! 2013

Merry, Merry Christmas!
 This year I have heard more than ever different opinions and views on the whole Santa debate. I have been asked several times if in our family we believe in Santa or not. In our family, Santa does come visit our house and brings presents for the kids. I have heard that because Eric and I do "play" Santa, that it will be confusing to our children because if we are "lying" to them about Santa, then how are they going to know that we are not lying to them about Jesus. That question I have thought long and hard about, and I have discussed it with some of my closest friends. A dear true and close friend of mine, Alisha, discussed this with me on the phone one day. She was saying how with our kids we discuss all the princesses (if you know our girls, you know that they are princess obsessed!), talk about them and their stories like they are real, when we go to Disney World we don't tell them it is just someone dressed up in a Belle/Cinderella/Buzz/Woody/Mickey Mouse costume, we just let them use their imagination and pretend, just like we are doing with Santa. Santa pops up in our house maybe a couple of weeks before Christmas, and often he isn't even mentioned every one of those days in those couple of weeks. It might be asked, "What do you want Santa to bring you?" Jesus on the other hand, Jesus is mentioned not only a couple of weeks before Christmas, He is mentioned several times in our house every single day of the year. We pray as a family before meals, we gather together every single night in one of the kids bedrooms to say what we are thankful for that day, and pray and thank Jesus for his blessings and give him any prayer requests we may have, no matter how big or small (and Elsie always prays for Vada's cough to get better- no matter if she hasn't had one in months). ;) We go to church as a family every Sunday and Wednesday. We are discussing Jesus and His grace, His blessings, His forgiveness constantly in our house... and the kids often hear me praying for patience. Even though right now our kids believe in Santa, they know the real and true reason for Christmas and would be more than happy to tell you all about that very first Christmas. One day Santa will be a fun memory, just like Rapunzel and Spiderman I believe, but I pray that Jesus will always be in my kids hearts. I feel that if you choose not to do Santa in your house, that is just fine and I'm glad that we each can make a decision on what we feel like we can do for our own families. My precious husband sent me an email one day with a link to this blog post that was saying (only in a much better way than I can) exactly what I was trying to.
So, on Christmas morning when Jackson, who was so patient and quiet (since all 4 kids were asleep in our bedroom) was given the okay to wake his sleeping sisters up, the first thing we did was to open our last gift to our "What Does God Want For Christmas" book set we have. (This set is a wonderful activity to do with young kids starting a week before Christmas. Each day you read a short story and open one of the gift boxes, which includes an angel, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, Shepherd, Wise man,  and the seventh day- Christmas Day- is a mirror showing that God wants your heart more than anything else.) We thanked God for sending His son on that very first Christmas Day, Sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, and discussed again the importance of this day and how Santa brought some gifts, just like the Wise Men did to Baby Jesus. We then went and opened the gifts that Santa brought.

We then went up to Mamaw Di and Papaw Fred's to have a delicious breakfast, and to open presents from them and Aunt Jessica.

After hanging out there for a while, we came home and packed and headed towards Sparta to celebrate with the Clifton's and Leftwich's. 

After a packed and busy day, we spent the night in Sparta. The next day we woke up, opened up gifts from Gramma Winkie, Grandpa David & Uncle Marshall, and then we headed towards Pigeon Forge for the night to see all the beautiful lights at Dollywood.  After we left Dollywood we were still driving around Pigeon Forge looking at the Christmas lights at 11:15pm. The kids were loving all the lights! We then went and checked into our hotel and let the kids play in the jacuzzi tub in our room before they passed out for the night. 

When we got home Friday night, we walked into a messy home full of unwrapped wrapping paper, new toys galore, and many wonderful Christmas memories from this season.

What a busy, wonderful Christmas we had celebrating the birth of our Savior! 

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