Monday, 15 December 2014

7 Christmas Quick Takes


So usually I do quick takes on a Friday, because you know, that's when the link-up is hosted. But tonight I'm ready to write, so Christmas quick takes it is.


Did you know that many Catholics and other Christians have a big fight going on about Santa Claus? One side says acting like Santa Claus is a real person who leaves gifts for your kids is the same as lying to your kids, plus takes the focus away from Jesus, and the other side says people against Santa are killing the wonder and fun of childhood.


I see both sides. I remember the disappointment and let down on the day I found out Santa was my mum. Actually, it didn't happen at Christmas time, and it was all the Tooth Fairy's fault. I put my tooth under my pillow, waiting for my shiny one rupee coin to appear there (1 rupee got 30 peppermints, so that was wealth) and day after day passed and no coin appeared. i just couldn't understand what was wrong. Then my poor forgetful mum took me out on the balcony and said, "Well, Sue... actually the Tooth Fairy is me. And so is Santa Claus." NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Perhaps if we had never started playing that game, I would have avoided the big let down.


But then, but then, I also remember the years of joy and wonder of the night before Christmas, the anticipation, the thrill of trying to wake up early enough to catch Santa at work, the excitement at seeing the pile of gifts under the tree, and the ones with my name on them. (I must have been a very gullible kid, because I never noticed how similar Santa's handwriting was to my mum's.) It was magic! It definitely added something to my childhood. We also had prayer time, we went to Mass, my siblings and I were not greedy little consumers who only cared about material things. Our family growing up didn't have a lot of money, so the one or two gifts and the stocking full of sweets and dried orange and nuts were so special.


So I was thinking a lot about the issue. I'm all about the truth and keeping it real and all that jazz, so how did the two work together?

And then I found a great article that gave me a lot of clarity-

The Great Santa Lie Truth by Calah Alexander

Everyone keeps talking about how telling your children about Santa is a lie because Santa isn’t real. But who cares if Santa is real or not? That’s not the point. The point is, Santa is true.
We’ve so totally lost the ability to distinguish between the real and the true that we act like they are the same thing, when they’re not — at least, not always... 
But, said Lewis, myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silver.
No, said Tolkien, “they are not.
…just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth.
We have come from God (continued Tolkien), and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming a ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.

You mean, asked Lewis, that the story of Christ is simply a true myth, a myth that works on us in the same way as the others, but a myth that really happened? In that case, he said, I begin to understand.
(Read the rest here)

It's a cool perspective that basically says that Santa is a myth that prepares kids to understand deeper truths about God. Undeserved gifts- that's God. Joy and wonder and glimpses of a bigger, more beautiful world- that's a glimpse into God too. And THAT'S real!


It's a little bit like reading the Chronicles of Narnia, or the Lord of the Rings, or even George MacDonald's books. They're stories, but they feel real, because they reveal truth, and with it wonder and joy and even awe.


In conclusion, let me leave you with some Christmas memes, because what better way:

That's my plan too... roast chicken stuffing mmmmm

 Ah ha ha ha

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Why Have Kids?

The other day my sister said to me, "I can't think of a good reason to tell people they should have children. I mean, I think they should, but rationally, why?"

I thought about it. From a secular perspective, saying 'God said go forth and multiply' didn't sound very convincing. Besides again, why DID He?

Biologically, to carry on the human race, but hey, there are plenty of people who exist already, so doesn't look like the human race is going to die out any time soon. Carrying on the family name? Maybe that's important to some people... like European royalty, maybe?

(Speaking of royal babies...)

I guess the question is, why do anything?

For most people, it's pretty simple- you do whatever adds to your happiness (immediate or future), and avoids potential pain. With kids, well, there's cuddles and cuteness, but also exploding diapers and sleepless nights. There's a mini-version of you (yeah, we're all narcissists), but then that mini-you will probably grow up and refuse to live up to your expectations and cause you all kinds of pain. Having a child means major lifestyle changes. If you have a pretty comfortable, satisfying life, then adding kids has too many potential risks of discomfort and pain.

(Ah ha ha ha ha)

So why have kids?

Well, if happiness meant pleasure and comfort, then I guess maybe I don't have a good answer.

But suppose, suppose, there was more to happiness. Suppose happiness was becoming the person you were meant to be, becoming the best version of yourself? Suppose happiness was living a life not of mere comfort, but of love?

Kids can help with that.

Somehow kids can change selfish lazy human beings into people whose focus moves from ME to someone else, a someone else who depends completely, totally on them.

Have you seen the difference between most bachelors, and daddies of young children? The video game playing, hours of TV watching, or even work-obsessed career men versus the baby-holding, diaper-changing, tired daddy who cleans up messes and looks for chances to give his wife a break? Which one do you look at say- "Yes! That is what a man is supposed to be!"


Or this?

I'm not saying there aren't selfless bachelors or spinsters or childless couples. BUT most of us tend to selfishness, and sometimes half-heartedly desiring to be different doesn't work as well as being FORCED to be different.

Nor am I saying parenthood automatically changes people into saints. Having babies more likely reveals to them how far from sainthood they really are. Even good parents fail a lot, but they keep trying. But not all parents choose to rise to meet the challenge of love a baby offers. We always have a choice.

I believe like JP2, that "Man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self."

You can give yourself through serving the poor, looking for ways to serve your family, and your room mates, spending your Saturday afternoon doing art with kids in a slum, reading a book to an old person, picking up after someone else, choosing a career that helps people, saying yes when someone asks for help, even when it's a little inconvenient. So many ways.

But babies are one of the most effective ways God graciously provided to change lazy sinners into selfless saints. I've seen enough parents to know that it's possible.