Archives For Christmas

20121205-062754.jpgI have made many mistakes as a parent, but perhaps none so grievous as quashing my son’s belief in Santa at a very young age. What can I say? I was living out of a very conservative, a very legalisitic, place in my faith.

I was afraid.

I was afraid, at that time, that allowing him to continue to believe in Santa would, and his subsequent eventual discovery of the truth, damage my credibility vis-a-vis Jesus. I did not want him to feel lied to.

I could not have been more wrong.

Oh, sure my intentions were good, but the net effect–and this is something that took me years to understand–was rather than protecting him, I was harming him. Moreover, in quashing his childlike faith, I was creating a hyper-rationalist–someone who was skeptical of everything.

Hewing to a conservative theology is one thing. Having convictions, and keeping them, can be a very wonderful thing in our world. It is indeed important to stand for something. Thing is, and my wife–being much more intuitive about these things–tried to warn me: I was doing far more harm than good.

Because, you see, having a belief in Santa at a young age is something Jesus can work with. Rather than hindering an eventual trust in Jesus, this childlike faith actually fosters faith in him. For that sweet sincerity of childhood makes a transfer of trust all the easier. Because, though they do not know it, what they are truly seeking is him, is Jesus. (I think of Shasta, in C.S. Lewis last Narnian tale, The Last Battle, who–though he did not know it, truly sought Aslan all along).

So take it from one who has been there: the consequences of quashing childlike faith (which, sadly, eventually happens all on its own) early are far-reaching. Yes, there is such a thing as a healthy skepticism, but fostering it too early takes just about all the wonder out of the world.

Which is why my wife and I are doing things differently with our daughter: we are allowing her to believe in the the Tooth Fairy, Santa, et cetera for as long as she needs to. We will cross the bridge when we need to, and not sooner.

Childlike wonder is a wonderful thing to behold. Let live as long as you can.

What do think? Speak on it:

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It’s Christmas, 1977. For this recently transplanted Pennsylvania family, the Arizona weather is mild–balmy, even. It’s sheer joy to be outside in short sleeves and shorts. Dust swirls up in the breeze from the hard-packed, sun-scorched earth, in little eddies all around the boy, and his dad.

Civilization, the march of progress, has stopped at their subdivision, leaving only open desert in a swath a mile long, and half a mile wide, just across the street. The landscape is as foreign as Mars.

But the boy doesn’t care. He’s there with his dad. His dad is thirty-three, recently transferred, the youngest plant manager in his company’s history. But none of that matters today.

Dad is there, in his own boyish glee, to teach his eight year-old son–the boy–how to fly. Not windmills, nor spinning, but a real plane. An honest-to-goodness fuel-powered, remote-controlled plane.

It’s one of the boy’s presents. The smile on his face tells the story: of all his presents, this is his favorite.

Its purple plastic glistens with possibility as it sits on the hard-packed ground there in the bright sun. The boy, who had just recently flown on a jet plane for the first time in his young life, imagines the hard ground is tarmac, and he the pilot.

But before he can take control, the old captain–his dad–must show him the ropes.

The boy can’t wait for his turn. The old captain gases up the plane, gets its engine going. That glorious sound is akin to a lawnmower heard from a distance. Its propeller slices the air, and it is aloft–launched, and flying free.

The old captain is at the helm, the joy of flight writ large upon his face, forgetting the pilot trainee who stands watching.

“Daddy, when will it be my turn?”

“Just a minute.”

“Daddy.”

“Just. A. Minute. Chad.”

“Okay.”

The plane swoops, and swirls in the too-bright sky. The boy–Chad–has to shade his eyes to follow its arc.

Then, a sudden noise. It’s down. His beautiful plane is down, crashed onto the desert ground. Chad rushes with his dad to see.

Is it alright? Will the old captain impart his knowledge of flight? It’s not to be: his beautiful plane is smashed into pieces.

The boy looks at his dad for… something. Reassurance, a promise of another plane, a look of love, a tousle of his red hair. Anything.

“Tough shit, kid,” his dad says.

Life, like the plane, has come crashing down again.

Little did he know, but like a plane at altitude losing cabin pressure, the boy’s family was already on life support. It had less than six years left to live.

Has anything like that happened to you?

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Please note: I don’t hate my dad. He is a very wounded man. I’m merely trying to chronicle my authentic experiences in this series of posts, as these were some pivotal moments that shaped my soul. Also, I had something else planned for today, but was assured by those close to me that it wasn’t quite ready for prime time.

The scriptures say “if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts…” And it’s true–we do. We know how to give very good gifts. We work hard to do so. We drive hither and yon to find just that right special something for that special someone.

And then we have the rug pulled right out from under us.
Continue Reading…

Prior to my hiatus, I committed to writing something up regarding peace during Advent for Adam McHugh; however, due to my tardiness in getting it to him his calendar filled up, and he was unable to use my post. He indicated that it was good, and I should try to have it posted elsewhere.

So I did. I sent it out via bcc: to a number of bloggers I respect. I was pleasantly surprised to hear quickly back from Tamara Outloud (she was the first of many) that not only would she run it, but she would run it this Friday!

I took this to be a “God thing.”

So rather than sit on it for a year, I’m breaking “radio silence” to bring you What Is Peace? hosted by Tamara Outloud.

This will be my last post until sometime in the new year. Thank-you for reading, for your encouragement, and your prayers! I appreciate all of you more than words can convey.

Chad