There's a certain wonder about experiencing the Christmas season through the eyes of a 4 year old. Everything has truly come to life for him and it's brought new life to the story for me as well. Of course it's so much more than a story.
I shared our Elf on a Shelf story last week. I caught some flack for entertaining this silly game and I understand why some people have an issue with this "magic" elf. You can read all about my perspective on magic vs. miracle. The thing is, as with any holiday or event, our human-ness can paganize anything sacred. (Yes, I do realize I just made up a whole bunch of words, but if you know me, then you know this is a common occurrence. Just imaginate with me...) You can read below how I put my own spin on the Elf.
A wide-eyed little boy is enjoying ALL things Christmas. He moves his candy cane each day to count the days of Christmas (this is also teaching him about the calendar). He searches for his elf Jokey every morning (teaching responsibility as he cleans up his messes). Does he believe in Santa? Yes. And he's good friends with him at the mall. (At least in his mind.) He believes he's asking Santa for one very specific present and he also understands he'll get other presents from family. And then there's Jokey. He is allowed to play with him, unlike the rules of the book. (Keep reading.) He believes Jokey comes to life at night, but he also loves to incorporate him into his imaginative play during the day. And all of that is okay by me.
He's also the first to tell you "Christmas is Jesus' Birthday." The items in my curio cabinet are an eclectic mix of collections that date back to my teenage years - strictly off limits for a 4 year old to play with. But that didn't stop him. As I began to pull out the pieces of the Nativity, I realized the sheep was missing. (You can read about another Lost Sheep here.) I asked if he knew where it was and he lead me straight to his playroom. Sure enough - there was my missing sheep, only now he was missing an ear. :( When I asked him what happened, he responded, "Maybe it happened in the fire." Considering I had just purchased this set last year, I knew this very mischievous little boy had used my own excuse on me. I had to laugh.
When I caught him with a chair pulled up to the mantle where I placed the Nativity out of reach, he quickly turned to explain. "Mom, I'm giving Baby Jesus his birthday cake." He had taken part of the miniature tea set (also from the off-limits-do-not-touch cabinet) and placed it near baby Jesus. And then I had to smile.
I felt he may have taken things a little too far when I explained how Jesus provides for our needs after a recent shopping trip. He was completely serious when he responded, "Mom, baby Jesus can't provide for us. He can't even have a job!" We might need to skip ahead to Easter...
Christmas through a child's eyes is bringing this de-sensitized, overly-paganized, somewhat callous adult to a new appreciation for the reason we celebrate.
In case you're wondering, here's Jokey's accompanying letter and some of his mischief!
First off, I have to tell you how special you are. I know how much you are loved by your family. God created you in Sarah’s tummy but He perfectly placed you in family when you were adopted. There are so many people who love you and prayed for you and you need to know that you are an answer to prayer.
Just like your family adopted you, I’m giving you a very special assignment to adopt “Jokey” the Elf. He’ll be staying with you until Christmas Day. He is a dear friend of mine, but he tends to be a bit naughty. He gets into mischief and does all kinds of things to play jokes on people. So watch out because you never know where you’ll find him or what mess he will have made each morning when you wake up.
Elves are not the same as humans. Jokey will stay still all day but comes alive at night. You can talk to him, play with him, and he can be a part of your imagination. But he will be quiet all day and then play at night once everyone is sleeping. That’s usually when he gets into trouble, so you’ll have to keep an eye on him!
Sometimes you make bad choices and sometimes you disobey. But Jesus loves you all the time and so does your family. To help you remember we are given love even when we don’t deserve it, I want to ask you to help me while Jokey stays with you. I have a very important responsibility for you to help teach him to make good choices. But the most important job is to help him understand the real reason we celebrate Christmas is because it’s Jesus’ Birthday.
Jokey is really enjoying staying with you so make sure you take care of him and teach him how to make good choices! I’ll be back on Christmas to pick up Jokey and take him back to the North Pole to be with me until next Christmas…and I’ll be bringing you a SPECIAL Christmas present! Until then…be a good boy!
|Jokey put on E's clothes for school!|
|Elijah's Name Project for school - Jokey added some glitter snowflakes.|
|That silly elf made a toilet paper trail all the way down the stairs.|
|He got all twisted in the toilet paper. E had to clean it up.|
|Jokey invited some friends for milk and cookies - but he didn't clean up after himself!|
|Sometimes Jokey just likes to "hang out" - or in this case, upside down from the ceiling. He left E a note.|