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December 17, 2012

The three of us, stood at the counter measuring and mixing, focusing on the task at hand. My granddaughters, ages six and ten, and I were making Christmas cookies, and, as usual, the girls were bubbling with excitement.

Every little while, one or the other would drop a not-so-subtle hint about what they wanted for Christmas. Hints I filed away in my memory, just hoping I could pull them out again when my hands weren’t covered in cookie dough. Now, my memory isn’t what it used to be, so I usually jot the important the stuff down, just to be sure. But, with cookie dough on my hands, that wasn’t an option.

Kaylee, the six year old is old enough, I thought. Old enough to know the story…the real reason. So I began by saying, ‘Honey, do you know why we celebrate Christmas?’ I asked, conversationally.

Kaylee bounced on the balls of her feet and without hesitation, she shouted, ‘Presents!’ The Santa hat she was wearing bounced right along with her.

‘But, Honey, do you think that’s the real reason?’ I inquired.

The older girl, Evie, quietly whispered ’Jesus. He’s the real reason.’ I asked her not to answer my questions, quietly explaining that I wanted to have a conversation with her sister about Christmas. Evie sagely nodded and stepped back to watch and listen.

‘SANTA!’ Exclaimed Kaylee.

Unable to resist, Evie grumbled, ‘I’m not sure Santa is even real.’ Her comments barely audible.

‘Shh…, talk to your mom about that…let’s not wreck it for Kaylee today,’ I whispered.

Seeing this as a teachable moment for Kaylee, I focused on her.

Evie and I had this discussion a few years back; so I knew she understood the true meaning of Christmas. And, she’s confirmed that knowledge every year since then by asking for details, and sharing her insights.

Today. was her sister’s turn.

‘Honey, Jesus was born on Christmas,’ I explained, ‘He’s the most important reason we celebrate Christmas. He’s the reason for the season.’

The poor kid looked scared. I think she was afraid that I’d tell her that giving and receiving presents was wrong…and effectively take all the fun out of her Christmas.

Hardening her resolve, she gathered her thoughts before speaking, willing to fight to the bitter end for her presents. Then she told me ‘But Grandma, everyone gets presents on Christmas, and everyone gives presents, so presents must be most important.’

I reassured her that there was nothing wrong with giving or receiving gifts at Christmas, within reason, I just wanted her to understand why.

Once again, I asked, ‘So, Kaylee, why do you think we give each other presents on Christmas?

‘Because Santa brings us presents,’ she insisted.

‘Well, you’re right, he does, and that’s important. Santa is the spirit of giving, and he lives in our hearts. But why do you think he gives us presents?’

‘It’s fun! He likes to…‘ She pleaded.

I agreed. ‘It is fun,’ I told her. Deciding I’d drilled the poor kid long enough, it was time for my explanation. ‘Do you remember the Christmas Story from church?’

‘Uh-huh’ I could hear skepticism in her little voice.

‘Remember the Wise men in the Christmas story?’ She slowly nodded. ‘Did they bring presents to Jesus when he was born?’

Her eyes lit up, as she began to bounce once again, a sure sign of comprehension…and relief. She was now wearing a big smile. ‘We give presents to each other because the Wise men gave presents to Jesus!’

A light bulb moment for this six year old, she continued…‘But Jesus was born a really long time ago, Grandma. He must be really old.’

‘Yup, you’re right, he was born long ago.’

‘Then Grandma,’ she whispered reverently, ‘Jesus must be older than forty-five!’

  1. permalink

    Older than 45 — now that’s priceless!

  2. Greg Frosig permalink

    Too precious! U may have to consider publishing your stories (beyond blogging) some day!! C u at the pool!

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Bev Acker permalink

    That’s so cute!!

    Sent from my iPhone

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