Sometimes I wonder if anything we say will ever get through the thick little skulls of our children. We try to "train up our children in the way they should go," and it feels like we're constantly teaching little lessons about kindness, sharing, generosity, and gratefulness. And then Christmas happens and it's like they've never even heard of those concepts!
The boys had a slumber party in one bed on Christmas eve and were up so late giggling that they let us sleep in to a decently reasonable hour, as far as Christmas mornings are concerned.
They enthusiastically opened their presents, then spent the rest of the morning feverishly assembling their favorite gifts, the Lego sets they'd received.
The boys were so thrilled with the Legopalooza at our house, that one little gentleman didn't even want to leave to go to the Layton Christmas that afternoon. He was whining that he wouldn't get any Legos there. Insert big speech about nobody owing you any gifts at all, being grateful, Christmas is about Jesus, not you, etc. etc. In one ear and out the other, with a quick trip around the eyes to make them roll. But he got over it, put on a good face, and ended up opening some great presents, including a Lego set. And he seemed to be genuinely grateful for and happy about all of his new loot. But when I asked the brothers to pose in their new deer hunting get-up, this is what I got:
A mini political statement? Surely not!
Fast forward to the Raney Christmas. When Uncle Trey showed the boys around the playroom, occupied by his cousins, a 2 year-old girl and a 6 week-old baby boy, they found a vanity, dress up clothes, and a million baby dolls and accessories. Calvin took a quick tour of the joint, then announced, "Can we open presents now?" I coulda killed him!
But a few days later, Mr. Selfish redeemed himself and all three boys gave me hope that maybe a little of our instruction is sinking in. My dad had a significant birthday which I will not divulge (I'll just say that it rhymes with pixty). We threw him a little party and after he opened presents, he took the opportunity to share his heart with his family. He told us about how he went to a Bible study with someone years ago and learned about Jesus. When Max heard that name, he piped up with, "Jesus can save you!" Interrupting? Yes, but also true--and cute. My dad (a.k.a. Papa) described how when he accepted Christ he literally felt a warmth crawl up his body and settle in his heart, to which Reed interjected, "That must've been the Holy Spirit!" (I gotta admit--I was sorta bustin' my Sunday-school-teacher-mom buttons right then...) Then he went on to share that from that moment on he knew that God was real. Then, he said that God has communicated to him at various times in his life, including when he told him to marry Mimi. Calvin had to get his two cents in to this speech, so he said, "I'm glad He told you that, cuz' (big eyes and big finger point to Mommy)," which of course elicited an explanation by Reed and random chatter by Max. After the speaker got his audience back under control, he warned us that Satan is spreading two big lies: that God isn't real and that the Bible can't be trusted. Then he encouraged us to seek God and try to learn more about him because He's real and He loves us. "So, I guess that's my gift to you," he concluded. And how did my selfish, toy-obsessed child reply? He perked right up and said, "That's better than Legos!"