Yesterday, Gregg was reading books to the twins before church. A book was placed in his lap...and I heard him say, "How'd this book get into our library book bag?" Hmmm. Guess the book monitor wasn't doing her job. But he began reading it anyhow. The book was called, "Santa's Secret". Now, we don't really do the Santa thing around here - it isn't part of our Christmas celebration. However, in our culture, the kiddos hear about Santa, see Santa, wonder about Santa, and have friends that take Santa more seriously. We aren't totally Anti-Santa.....We have been given some Christmas decorations w/ Santas on them.... and our children are told straight out that Santa is not real, but is a fun game that some people play....and then explain our reasons for not playing it.....Ah, I digress.
The opening setting is in Santa's workshop...the elves cheerfully working. The question is raised, "Why do we celebrate Christmas?" Well, I thought this would be the end of the story and Gregg would be explaning why he wasn't going to finish the book, but then some little elf answers, "It's the day we celebrate Jesus being born." Well, so far so good. Wonder if that is just a nod to the Christian community. Then the book goes on to ask, "Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus?" Answer, "Because of all the wonderful things He taught and did.", "He taught us to be kind to each other, and to forgive each other when we make mistakes,", We shouldn't tell lies, we shouldn't steal, and we shouldn't be mean, Jesus taught us to love each other the way we love ourselves." - Quickly, loosing ground here, I'm expecting the book to get shut and Gregg to begin some parental editorial about the values of Christ being tied to who Christ is, when again some little elf in the back answers, "Jesus taught us to give. Not just stuff but to give what really counts - to give of ourselves. He gave His life for us. He died for us. He is the Savior, because He saved all of us." Okay, that's a decent answer. The questioner continued, "What does that mean?" ...Well the story continues, and the book even unashamedly attacks defining words like ATONEMENT! (Hooray for children's books that use doctrinally sound words that have more than 4 or 5 letters!) The author also attaches meaning to the word Santa by making an acronym out of it. Not sure if that's kosher, but I won't mind my children being directed to think of Santa as:
Savior's Atonement -Necessity To All
In the end, we were rather happily suprised. The book gave some decent definitions, and even a platform for talking in some more depth. I am also happy to know that some other child in our community can grab this book and, it could be life changing for them!