Culture At Large

The deception of Christmas gifts

Natasha S. Robinson

In the Robinson home, we don’t do Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or Halloween, for that matter. I know, some must think I’m a boring, rigid parent. On the contrary, I like fun, celebrating, gifts and candy. At the same time, I try to take advantage of opportunities to teach my 4-year-old daughter about God, what it means to represent Him and be His servant while eliminating worldly distractions. As I train her, I often find that God is teaching me as well.

Recently, while sitting in her car seat, she said to me, “Mommy, I want to go to heaven while I’m 4.” For a split second my heart stopped. I could not imagine what I would do or how I would respond if God took her away when she was 4. Of course, I did not let on to her that Mommy was wrestling with deep thoughts concerning the implications of her statement. I did not want to destroy the blessed hope that she has of going to be with Jesus in heaven. I simply smiled and responded, “That’s nice, baby.”

Did she understand the gravity of her statement? I think she did. I think she understood that even in this life - where all of her needs are met, where she gets some of the trimmings, where she has two loving parents living in her home, where she regularly enjoys learning and playing at school and church - even with all that Jesus has something better to offer on the other side and she looks forward to being in heaven with Him.

Is this why Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it?”

Jesus’ words have a special relevance during the Christmas season, this time of gifts and abundance, for the spoiling of kids. I pray that I never blind my child or offer her so much that she treasures her life on earth more than the eternal life that awaits her in heaven. I pray that I am not so blinded by my own stuff that I forget the hope and promises that await me there.

Because the thought of life in Heaven is so far above my understanding, I know it is tempting to forgo thinking about my eternal home. In this season, let us not forget that we are citizens of heaven and heaven does await our arrival. This is the gift of Christmas. My daughter is anticipating her arrival there. The convicting question is: Am I? Are you?

(Image courtesy of George Eastman House.)

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Faith, The Church, Christmas & Easter, Home & Family, Family, Parenting