Posts Tagged ‘ Christmas ’

The Jesus Part Of Christmas (One Solitary Life)

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

When our family saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular this past weekend, it reminded me of a deep thought that I feel often goes “unthought of.”

At the very end of the show, a short essay called “A Solitary Life” by Dr. James Allan Francis was read to the audience, right after The Living Nativity scene.

I won’t quote the whole thing here, but the last few lines of it really stood out to me:

“Two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that have ever marched and all the navies that have ever sailed and all the parliments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this “One Solitary Life.’”

It’s pretty fascinating to me that if Jesus wasn’t who He claimed to be, which is the Son of God and the predicted Messiah of the prophecies in the Old Testament, then He was simply the most famous and influencial deceiver to have ever lived on the earth.

That means He’s fooled millions of people in the past couple thousand years. That means, back in His day, he caused quite a political uproar over… nothing. In that case, it was all just a hoax.

As C.S. Lewis famously put it, Jesus is either “lunatic, liar, or Lord.”

But again, if He was simply a crazy man or false prophet, He’s the most famous and influential one there’s ever been, to simply have been just a man.

Or, Jesus really is who He said He is, and He’s still the most famous and influential man who has ever lived.

This is the same man who this time of year is better known as the baby born in Bethlehem.

Nearly a year and a half ago, I wrote “8 Non-Religious Reasons To Take Your Kids To Church,” in which I closed by stating my thoughts on the choice to live a life based on faith in Jesus:

The way I look at it; even if at the end of my life I was wrong about God this entire time and when we die, we just die and that’s it, I still wouldn’t regret having believed. Because if nothing else, I had a sense of hope amidst all of life’s uncertainties.

Throughout all the traditional Santa and reindeer stuff we enjoy this time of year, I’m still distracted by the Jesus part of Christmas.

If Christmas was simply about candy canes and snowmen, and still managed to be this big of a deal to everyone, I would really be questioning why we celebrate it.

But I know the basis of this holiday season is deeper than that, and even more than just “the spirit of giving.” It still comes down to a baby in a manger who went on to live the most famous and influential life… ever.

And as I raise you to believe in Him, if He was really just a liar or a lunatic instead, I guess that makes me one of those things too.




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My Kid is Fascinated With And/Or Terrified By Santa Claus

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

In the midst of all the fun holiday traditions our family has participated in so far this season, like going on a couple of hay rides and driving around to check out Christmas lights, one thing we haven’t done this year is officially go visit Santa and let you get your picture made with him.

Last Saturday when we saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes, we could have easily walked from the Grand Ole Opry to the nearly adjoining Opry Mills Mall and got your picture taken (for free) with Santa, at the Bass Pro Shop.

I just looked it up in my dadabase of The Dadabase, and almost exactly a year ago I wrote you a letter called “The Obligatory Facebook Picture Of Your Kid With Santa.”

Interestingly enough, I ended it with this proclamation:

“So here it is; this is the obligatory picture of you with Santa that I shared on Facebook. You may not remember it happening. Either way, I’m sure we’ll be back at Bass Pro Shop again for your Santa picture next year.”


Mommy and I asked you several times during the past couple of weeks if you wanted to go get your picture made with Santa again.

Each time, you calmly muttered no.

I figure, why push the issue? So don’t worry about it, kid. We don’t have to go.

My assessment of the situation is this: You’re equally fascinated with Santa Claus as much as you are terrified by him. I think that’s pretty normal for a 3 year-old boy. Santa is exciting (and safe) from a distance, in other words.

You don’t want to sit on his lap, yet you think he’s really cool and keep asking me if he (and the Rockettes) are going to give you a gift for Christmas.

Actually, I should be thanking you. You saved me a trip to the mall during the Christmas holidays!





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We Saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

3 years. 

Dear Jack,

As much as I would love to take you to your first movie in a theatre, I still don’t believe the time is right.

However, you proved to officially be ready to see The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes, at The Grand Ole Opry here in Nashville.

Turns out, our friends at GoGo Squeez arranged for our family to go see the show. (After all, by now you’re sort of a poster child for them- considering typically anytime I take a picture of you eating a meal, there’s always a GoGo Squeez pouch visible in the shot.)

Leading up to us going, though, I just wasn’t positive you’d have the attention span to sit still long enough for us to stay the whole time, no matter how “spectacular” the event was. I gave you 30 minutes, tops. Fortunately, my doubts proved to be wrong.

And might I say, not only did you last the entire 2 hour show, but you showed off your potty training skills as well. For the 25 minute drive there from our house and back were no problems. There was a 15 minute intermission during the show- Mommy just took you to go potty and everything went well.

Seriously, I can’t get over how cool it is that you’re like… serious about not wearing diapers anymore. Wow. It’s like the end of an era.

Not that either of us will miss diapers!

During the show, you were pretty much glued to the screen, I mean stage.

I asked you afterwards what your favorite part of the show was; you quickly responded, “The bears!” I’m still trying to figure out what’s going through your head regarding what appeared to be a stage full of dancing, mutant bears… pandas included.

Your jaw dropped when you saw them during the Santa’s Workshop scene.

And you loved the live camels during the Living Nativity. As well as the 3D snowball fight. Not to mention, Santa Claus himself.

There was one part where the stage was filled with doznes of Santas, but you recognized right away that the “real” Santa had disappeared. During the whole song, you were quite distraught: “Where’d the big Santa go? Is he coming back?”

I also laughed out loud when the The Living Nativity scene began, after you saw the camels, recognizing the scene from your children’s Bible that Mommy reads you at bed time, you shouted out with excitement, “Is Jesus coming?!”

Our family had so much fun. With all the running around we usually have to do on the weekends for errands that we don’t have time for on the weekdays, it feels like we seldom get to take time just to go out and simply do something fun for our family.

For me, it was a proud family moment and activity. Plus, even though I moved to Nashville 8 years ago, it was my first time to go to the Grand Ole Opry! (What a shame that it took this long, huh?)

And again, it confirms for me: You can handle the travel to and from an event like this, at age 3, sans the diapers.

This parenting thing is starting to really get fun these days.





Disclaimer: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular mentioned in this story was provided courtesy of GoGo Squeez.

Photo credit for “on stage” photos: MSG Entertainment.


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The Post-Christmas “No More Presents” Blues

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Christmas is over. You are currently undergoing the culture shock of entering back into a world with no anticipation of an avalanche of gifts anytime soon.

That’s what happens when your birthday is so close to Christmas: You are bombarded with gifts for about a 30 day period, then suddenly… it’s back to reality.

I noticed how after you opened about 4 or 5 presents today, you started losing your ability to comprehend what the next gift even was.

Instead, you turned to me and said, “More gifts?”

And that’s what you said after every gift you opened from that point on.

I think in a few days, you’ll be able to comprehend that your Nonna and Papa (your grandparents on my side) got you the biggest Tonka firetruck I’ve ever seen- big enough to haul all your Thomas trains in.

Speaking of trains, you’ll also realize that your collection nearly doubled in a matter of a couple of days.

It’s like you just won a pie-eating contest. Sure, you won, but now you need to let everything settle and digest as properly as possible.

You need some time to settle back in to a world where instead of getting to hang out with family all day and open gifts, you are at daycare for the majority of the day with your friends and you barely get to see Mommy and Daddy.

I’m sure by the car ride to school tomorrow it will all start setting in.

It’s strange having a period of several days with virtually no stress, and then on top of that, receiving every toy you’ve been asking for.

Don’t worry, Son. I will be your guide back to the real world.

I don’t like it anymore than you do.





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The Obligatory Facebook Picture Of Your Kid With Santa

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday Mommy and I took you to the Bass Pro Shop to get your picture made (for free!) with Santa. Despite our low expectations about how you would react, it went very well…

We were first in line, out of hundreds. More importantly, to my surprise, you didn’t cry.

Granted, I warned/prepared you all week:

“Jack, do you want to meet Santa on Saturday? Do you want Santa to hold you?”

Your response was always a grunted version of yes.

The more I thought about the concept all week, the more I realized how going to meet Santa Claus is sort of…peculiar.

There is no other situation where parents encourage their kids to sit on a stranger’s lap and get their picture taken.

At best, it compares a little bit to Halloween; how parents take their kids around the neighborhood peddling for candy. Under any other circumstances, that would never happen.

Still, I think going to visit Santa is a very cool and memorable thing.

Something that especially stood out to me when we met Santa at the Bass Pro Shop is that the last thing he said to you was “I love you.” And he said it like he meant it; like a grandfather would say it. He said it like he was waiting for a response.

I think about all the children who went after you in the Santa line. Not all of them hear “I love you” from a father figure as much as you do.

So here it is; this is the obligatory picture of you with Santa that I shared on Facebook. You may not remember it happening. Either way, I’m sure we’ll be back at Bass Pro Shops again for your Santa picture next year.





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