To My Son on His (probably) Last Magical Christmas
Dear beloved, strong-willed, loving, first born child,
This is most likely the last year you believe in Santa or elves or flying reindeer. You turn 10 years old soon and already you have big questions. For the first time ever you’ve decided not to give Santa your toy list in person and opted instead of asking your elf to deliever your list. I see you staring at your elf hoping to see it move, or wink, or show some sign of the magic you want so hard to believe in but suspect isn’t there. Three times this past month, you’ve brought up the story of how we were surprised two years ago to find our elf in the Christmas wrapping supply bin.
The first time you met your elf.
The day in November when your elf made a surprise appearance in my Christmas wrapping supplies bin.
You’ve been asking all the right questions: Can Santa get you the big $300 gift that we, your parents, can’t afford? Why haven’t you heard about Santa’s budget policy before? Does the elf really talk to us parents?
Son, you’ve been a real Scrooge this Christmas and I suspect it’s because you no longer believe in the magic and are trying to prove to yourself that: 1) the magic does exist; 2) you aren’t growing up; 3) your parents haven’t lied to you; and, 4) if you just ignore your questions, Santa will still be real.
Son, you’ve been a real Bah Humbug this past week. You only wanted to hang the Hallmark ornaments on the tree and not your sweet hand-crafted childhood memories: your pipe cleaner bell, your finger-printed popsicle rudolf, your paperplate snowman. You seem embarrassed of these treasures I hold so dear.
Every year you ask to help your dad hang the outdoor lights. You haven't even rearranged the sheep yet in our nativity scene. You complain about watching Christmas movies and helping bake cookies. I miss my sweet, magic-believing boy. You didn’t even care to see Santa at the end of the Christmas parade. You are growing up.
We used to have so much fun baking cookies and decorating them together.
Maybe you’re afraid that if the magic is gone, so are the presents under the tree and the eggs in the yard, and the money under your pillow, and the Jesus you’ve never met. And this is where my fear enters.
What if, in realizing Santa isn’t real, you begin to doubt the existence of the Christ child? Your dad and I struggled with this, you know. The first year of your birth we debated whether or not to bring Santa into your life for fear you would confuse Santa's magic with the miracle of God’s son.
But I want you to know that the magic of Christmas isn’t dead. I won’t let you into the Secret Santa Club until you ask me out right because I want you to believe as long as possible. I want you to remain my sweet magic-loving boy.
You have a new baby sister, only 3 months old, who will need you to encourage the magic. She will need you to hide the elf and fill her stocking. You have an amazing new big brother role that will perpetuate the magic for years to come. As a member of the secret Santa club, you get to wear the red hat for your sister.
The best news of all is that Jesus is a different kind of Christmas magic that lasts a life time. Jesus will never be only a magical figure who grants wishes. Jesus is a lifetime friend, mentor, and guiding star. Jesus will love you no matter your mistakes. He will travel by your side on every rough road. He will listen to every fear and every joy.
My hope for you, dear son, is that you embrace your new big brother role with gusto by sharing ALL of Christmas, both the magic and the peace, with your new sister.