Our not so great attempt at an Easter family picture! Seriously, this was the best of the lot!
Continuing my thoughts on the Easter Bunny and feeling "awkward" about the holidays...here's where I'm coming from:
Even as a child, I think I was a pretty serious person and wanted to know the truth about things. My mom says I never wanted to be treated like a kid. I didn't want the "kid's menu" and I didn't want to leave the room when serious stuff was talked about. One of the worst things for me even still do this day is to tell me what you think I want to hear rather than tell me the truth. Annoys me to no end! As a kid, I didn't find tons of joy in fantasy. A weakness and a strength I think. So, I didn't really care to believe in Santa, the Bunny and the Fairy like some kids. And I don't feel any loss in that. Though, I do wish I had been more "child-like." I will add that I loved big celebrations with lots of family, lots of food and lots of fun! I long to create that for my own children.
I know... I'm an intense person. I married a guy who can match me and even surpass me at times on the intensity scale. So, together, we need help from our friends to just chill out. At our wedding, the best man and my brother prayed for us that we would "laugh a lot and not take ourselves too seriously!" They know us well! And we really have tried to lighten up over the years... we're working on it. Feel free to invite us to do something fun and silly anytime... and even make us go :) We appreciate it!
At the age of 18 I became a follower of Jesus! Well, that sounds cult-ish when you say it that way, doesn't it? But it's accurate. I wanted to follow Him... in every way. I still do. And because of Him, I am different than I was before. I've also discovered that He made me this way and He likes me for it... my love for Truth and seeing things as they really are and not how I simply wish they were. And, Jesus tells me that knowing the Truth... it will set me free! So, I'm even more tenacious now about seeing things honestly, even when it's hard. There are great things about seeing the world this way and there are hard things about it. For example: When I'm around someone who is deeply hurting but trying to hide it, I can sometimes see it and I can bring them comfort. I can let them know they are not alone. I like that. On the flip side, when I go to Disney World, I don't believe that it really is the "Happiest Place on Earth." Though, they do put on a good show, I can see beyond the smiles of Cinderella and Snow White and know that she's really hurting, but getting paid to smile. I wonder... did her boyfriend just break up with her? Did she just lose a pregnancy? What's happened that's made her so sad? Oh wait, "Smile for the picture! Happy faces everyone!" Click! I have a hard time just lightening up sometimes.
So, this thing about being so serious... it carries over into every area of my life, especially the important parts like family. I genuinely want to have lots of fun at the holidays AND be who I am.
This is what makes me feel "awkward" about the holidays. I have a hard time celebrating in a way that is Truthful, Joyful, Lovely and that doesn't rock the boat and make everyone upset. This Easter Bunny/Santa topic can become a heated debate :) I'm sure you've already had some opinion about the things I'm writing. Don't believe in Santa? That's like sacrilege to some! And then I've also received lectures about the Pagan traditions of Easter, Christmas, and don't even get 'em started about Halloween! I get it. It's controversial. But, I'm not really the "don't rock the boat" type of person. Probably, much to my family's annoyance ;)
Felipe and I are wanting to learn new ways to celebrate the holidays that we count most sacred. It's so easy to just go with what we've always known and not be intentional about what we believe. It feels hard to make changes. We really want it to be about remembering Jesus and what He did for us... in a bigger way than just having ornaments that say "Jesus is the Reason..." If that's all we do and we still go on following Martha Stewart as a guide to our holidays, well it's a lie right? The ornament and nativity sets makes us feel better about it, but our hearts (and sometimes our bank accounts) reveal what's really happening.
We went to a Christmas party in December where the host asked everyone to share some of their favorite memories of Christmases in their families. It was mainly a group of Christians who grew up in Christian homes. I got to hear some of the most delightful stories about home-made Advent calendars celebrating the coming of Christ and also 3-hour family breakfasts on Christmas morning. It was a strange group in that the majority of people at the party did not grow up believing in Santa... because their parents told them that he did not exist. They knew about the man, St. Nicholas... but never believed in the fat man who came down the chimney for cookies. And surprisingly, few talked about the excitement surrounding gifts. They said gifts were present but not the focus. Though one girl did say that everyone got new pajamas on Christmas Eve in her family! I'm stealing that one! For the most part in their stories the focus was on celebrating Jesus and being together. They said they loved Christmas and never felt left out of anything. Though, in reality, they were "odd-balls" growing up I'm sure. Will Lucas be an odd-ball? I feel the pressure of that for him. But I hope his stories will be like theirs.
In all of this reflecting on our first holiday season with a child, we have confirmed our decision to not teach Lucas about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. I don't think it's evil or anything and I don't shun others for doing it. And, we will do our best to make sure that our kids don't "ruin" it for others. We will teach Lucas about the true story behind the mythical Santa and that we want to be like the real St. Nicholas. We will talk about the coming of Jesus as a baby, His victory over death... and also His coming again! We want to be creative and find fun, new ways to celebrate. We invite others to come along with us! We want to learn a new way to celebrate! To hear my son in 30 years tell stories like the ones I heard at that Christmas party... It's worth it!
And to lighten up this serious blog post, I'll add some pictures!
|Cousin Samuel with the Hyatt Easter Bunny! I think he was the Real one!|
|Nana Rita with some of her grand kiddos!|
|Lucas and Daddy playing in the fountains!|
|So cute at Christmas! I know, the Santa hat! Come on, we're not that uptight! And it's my Granny's hat!|
|Lucas with his mom and dad, Great Granny and Papa!|
|Sweet shot of Luc and my grandmother :) Love her! And look how cute they are in their Christmas shirts!|