I’ve been having a hard time with the holidays this year. Thanksgiving was nice but, very low-key. All of the food was there, but not nearly the same amount of enthusiasm on my part. Now it’s on to Christmas and I’ve been feeling pretty much the same way in anticipation. There are a couple of snowmen lying about, but no tree, no twinkling lights and no, no presents. Don’t worry, I’ll get there, hopefully before Christmas Eve. I guess the best way to describe how I’ve been feeling is like I’m disconnected from Christmas. Like I’ve lost my focus. There is no joy in the anticipation of the next stress filled weeks trying to get packages sent, cookies made and hoping that I have picked out the perfect gift. I am not looking forward to hunting down that elusive “Beauty House” that Thing 2 wants. Does anyone out there even know what that is? Please, help me.
I don’t blog much about religion, yet I think that I have made no secret that I’m a Christian. For those of you that aren’t, I can respect that, but I’m going to ask you to indulge me for a few moments. I need to tell you about a conversation that I had with my two young daughters that had a profound impact on my bad case of Christmas Blues. And, it’s not just about the celebration of Christ’s birth, but also about how we, Christians, need to respond to others.
After school, Thing 1 told me about a friend of hers who believes in God, but not Jesus. “Mom, he said that there is a God, but not Jesus. Is that true?”
“No, that’s not true,” I responded.
“Then why would he say that?”
“Because some people have different beliefs and different religions.”
Why? Usually, I don’t like that question because it’s never-ending. However, this time I welcomed a deeper conversation because it gave me a chance to not only educate my children, but to sow seeds of love. Notice I didn’t say to sow seeds of “tolerance”? I don’t care for that whole “tolerance” campaign, but that’s another blog post for another time. Anyway, it was about that time when Thing 2 piped up and said that she has a friend whose mommy doesn’t love God. “Yes,” I said “There are people who don’t believe in anything. Not God and not Jesus. How do you feel about that?”
They thought for a moment then Thing 1 said “Sad. Like they’re missing something”
“Well, they may feel the same way about you. How did you respond to your friend?”
“Oh, I told him to read his Bible and it would tell him all about Jesus, but he didn’t even know what a Bible was. So, I told him that I’d bring mine tomorrow and read to him about Jesus.”
“Was he cool with that?”
“Yes. Then we went and played on the monkey bars.”
They played together. I’m fairly sure that if that had been an equivalent conversation between adults of different religions, it would not have ended with them playing together on the monkey bars. I love the fact that she is confident enough in what she believes that she didn’t feel threatened or get defensive and she wanted to share it with someone else.
Just before bed I asked my girls if they thought it was okay to be friends with people of different religions and even people who don’t believe in God at all. Thing 2 looked at me like I had three heads and said “Of course it is! God is about love! He loves everybody! So how can you love God and not play with everybody?!” It’s amazing to me how children can see things so clearly that adults get screwed up all of the time. No need for separation and isolation. No denouncing or demonizing. Just go forth respectfully and show some love. I think I’m ready for Christmas now.