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DECEMBER 2004
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From the Editor -
Jamie Dale
For The Kids
Featured Article
ParentsShowing Children the True Meaning of Christmas
By Jamie Dale

Anyone who’s waited in line at three or four in the morning to get their kids the "hottest toy of the year" knows that parents can sometimes get sidetracked as to what the true meaning of Christmas really is.

I’ll be the first to admit it; I’ve done it myself. The holiday season had arrived, it was the day after thanksgiving and I was on a mission. I was bound and determined to find an elusive treasure that so many parents were searching for – a Furby for Christmas. Now, I will also admit that as I was in line at three in the morning, waiting for the workers to open the doors so I could get my hands on one of these mystical creatures, I didn’t even really know what a Furby was. All I knew was that everyone wanted one, my son wanted one, and they were very hard to find.
Honey’s Story
By Roberta Kittrell

Hello, God. It’s me, Honey. You already know who I am, but I love to say my pretty name.

As they were gently stroking me, Mommy told Granny I was named after a Southern, flowering plant called the honeysuckle. (Though I was given medicine to still my movements until my heart got better, I could still feel and hear them talking to me and comforting me.)

Granny agreed honeysuckle blossoms are so pretty and fragrant. Mommy chuckled, hugging Daddy, saying he and bears both like to eat honey.

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Being a competitive person by nature, I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than a Furby in my closet waiting to be put under the Christmas tree. When the doors opened, I made a mad dash with everyone else to where the Furbies were supposed to be. Grabbed two (although I really just needed one) because it seemed that everyone else was doing that, then rushed to checkout.

Hindsight tells me that we all must have looked like a bunch of crazed lemmings rushing to jump off the cliff that fine morning.

That was the Christmas that I realized I’d lost the true meaning of what the holiday season was supposed to be about. Sure, my son was happy with his Furby. He played with it all of three days (which was a record for him). Then, it sat on the shelf like a trophy, and began to annoy me with its incessant chattering (my husband thought it would be cute to keep turning it on).

I thought about the hours that should have been spent in bed and with my family, but were instead spent shopping for perfect gifts and some not-so-perfect gifts as well. I thought about why I had bought two Furbies when all I really needed was one. I thought about what I had done with that second Furby, and how ashamed I was that I had sold it for a profit at an online auction site rather than donating it to a giving tree program for a less fortunate child. Where had my morals gone? What had happened to the true meaning of Christmas? More importantly, what was I teaching my son about the meaning of Christmas?

The following Christmas I refused to play the "wait-in-line-and-run-like-mad" game. If I came across the "hot toy of the season," so be it. If I didn’t, the world wouldn’t come to an end. Instead, my family and I went to the store and picked out presents for children on the giving tree.

This year, we’re doing something different too. As "extreme" as it may be, we’re limiting what toys we will and will not allow our children to have. Society says it’s okay to give our children toys that are associated with stories involving witchcraft and demons. After all, every single kid at school is doing it, right? If I stopped my kids from doing it they’d be outcasts, wouldn’t they? I realized how ridiculous that line of thinking was. I couldn’t justify it anymore. On Christ’s birthday, I could not hand my children presents like that.

Sometimes it’s hard to turn away from the wrongs of this world. Oftentimes we believe that it will harm our social status, our friendships and our children’s friendships. Jesus never said following Him would be a cakewalk.

My grandmother, who has been around for a very long time, says that I’ve turned into one of those "Christian types" who revolves their life around God. I’m going to take that as a compliment.

While the commercialization of Christmas may cause many children to grow up thinking that the meaning of Christmas is buying as much as you can for as many as you can; I say we should focus extra-hard on teaching them what Christmas is really about.

This year, instead of waking up extra early to go shopping, why not wake up extra early to make cookies for a homeless shelter? Instead of shopping for this year’s "hot toy", why not visit a local giving tree and make it a family project? Then, instead of watching a traditional Christmas movie, why not read about the ultimate Christmas story together? The story of a Child who was born to save the world.
Jamie Dale has been the author of literally hundreds of articles, including titles such as "The Difference Between Like and Love" and "To Know The Father's Love". As a mother of three little ones, she understands the struggles of Christ-centered parenting in today's world and tries to help others by incorporating humorous insights and thought-provoking questions into her writing. She has often stated that God is the only perfect parent, but we can all try to follow His lead. It's Jamie’s goal to help parents remember this.