Seeing Christmas through a child's eyes

By  Stephanie Butcher, Youth Speak News
  • December 8, 2006
Recently, my fiancé Ian and I spent a Saturday at the Toronto Zoo. Although the animals were amazing to see, I found myself most entertained by the children with their parents.

I liked watching the kids shriek with delight while standing in front of the monkey display, most of whom were doing something silly while the kids watched. 

Children are truly a gift. Ian and I can't wait until the day we've got a few of our own. Although my six years of experience as a junior kinderski instructor has shown that sometimes children can get on my nerves, I've also seen how loving, affectionate and completely trusting a child is of his or her caretaker.

While Christmas quickly approaches, this trip reminded me that children can teach us a lot about how to approach and embrace the true meaning of Christmas.

As young children, boys and girls are ecstatic when they go down to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and see all the presents that this mysterious overweight, "jolly" man in a red suit has brought them. When they grow older, children begin to believe that Santa is just a figment of their imagination. They are shaped by school to develop a more analytical mind and to never make claims that can't be backed up by evidence. A man in a sleigh pulled by nine reindeer, who flies all over the world and gives presents to kids, can't be proven by scientific means, therefore it must not be true.

I had a revelation on that Saturday that this is similar to how many children lose their belief in Christ. In many ways Jesus and Santa are similar. Jesus, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, brings gifts to people in the form of miracles, prayers, comfort, strength and guidance, just as Santa brings gifts to "good boys and girls." But He is most like Santa because He is often forgotten by His people once they reach "the age of reason."

We are called to be like children. To come and sit on His knee again, look into His compassionate eyes, laugh with Him and rejoice in the fact that He loves us unconditionally. We are called to believe in Him without question, especially in Matthew's Gospel.

As educated adults, let us not only protect the fantasies of children, for the truth will unfortunately come soon enough, but let us also remember to take a lesson from the kids in our lives.

Jesus brings us gifts when we ask Him to. This Christmas, let us turn around and bring Him a special gift: the gift of our childlike, unconditional love, devotion and faith in Him. Let us not be like lumps of coal: hard, blackened, uncompromising and nearly indestructible. 

Instead, let us imagine that our hearts are soft, pliant and flexible, just like that favourite teddy bear we once had as children, who made the faithful journey down the stairs with us every Christmas morning dragged along, usually by one paw. 

Although our journey with Him is filled with bumps along the way, we, like the teddy bear, are never forgotten among the wrapping paper surrounding us, but are always tucked in and well taken care of in the evening, safe and sound beside Him.

(Butcher, 23, works for Salt + Light Television in Toronto.)

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