The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Have you been good? is the magic question which echoes in children’s heads, and we encourage them to say “yes” in order to get their deserved reward in the form of presents. But is this Christmas?
Many in Spain remember the moving story of the child with the spinning top, the trumpet and the pair of socks immortalised by humourists Gomaespuma a few years ago.
A child decides to write to Santa Claus on December 26th to get some clarification about some aspects of his Christmas presents. It is a radio joke that works really well because it describes a reality: Christmas blackmail.
The little boy in the story explains to Santa that he has behaved himself as well as he could throughout the 365 days of the year in the hope of getting his reward at Christmas in the form of his presents. So, having made this enormous effort, he finds himself with a collection of items that have nothing to do with what he had set his heart on. The scene becomes more and more dramatic as he realises how the evil prosper, in this case another child next door whom he described as “insolent, rude and disobedient”, and whom Santa had rewarded with the most wonderful presents that any child could ever wish to have. The child doesn’t understand anything and lays into the Nordic magician, and his dubious way of evaluating children’s good behaviour.
This is Christmas as we have been selling it to our children, a kind of global conspiracy in which we have to pretend, invent and lie in order to sustain an illusion which, at the end of the day, offers no real benefit to children.
Have you been good? is the magic question which echoes in children’s heads, and we encourage them to say “yes” in order to get their deserved reward in the form of presents.
Am I exaggerating? Let’s go back to our example of the little boy. It’s only a radio joke, but it is one which speaks volumes about how a child’s mind works, and what their attitude is to Christmas and everything that it represents. And if you don’t believe me, ask any child why they get presents on December 25th, and listen to what they say.
NOW FOR SOMETHING CRAZY!
Now let’s imagine a totally crazy scenario. Just imagine you ask this child why he gets Christmas presents and he says: Because my parents Love me, even though I sometimes behave badly. Crazy, isn’t it? The very idea that a child might get into his head that his parents love him whatever happens during the year! Not only crazy… it’s revolutionary!
It’s better for him to think that he has to do a series of good things so that the Magician from the North with bring him his spinning top, his trumpet and his pair of socks.
Christians can take Christmas as a commercial extravaganza, or as a good excuse to remember the birth of Jesus.
If we opt for the second way of seeing Christmas, it would be good to reflect on the truth embodied by Jesus: while we were still sinners, Christ came into the world to die for us. God with us. No reason to celebrate Christmas is greater than this one: it is not because of anything we have deserved, it has nothing to do with us, it is not about attitudes, it’s about His Love!
Understanding this, and explaining it to our children in a practical way is the best memory that we can leave them with this Christmas. It is daring to step outside this senseless consumerist circus, and give Jesus all the honour. Let’s try to love unconditionally, because he loved us first! This is the present, the precious gem that we can give our children this Christmas.
Now who is going to be brave enough to tell their kids that there is no Santa, there is just love?