The bedroom door yet again creaked open. This is the third time since I tucked my sweet firstborn into bed and kissed him good-night.
"Mommy, can I have a drink of water?" Yes, dear.. good-night.
"Mommy, I hear spooky songs." I'm sorry,let's pray Jesus will help you sleep.
Good night. (I'm becoming irritated)
So when I hear that door for the third time, I'm already heading up the stairs ready to dish out some consequences before he even has time to speak.
Yet, I'm suddenly met by a tearful child. A fearful child. My son meets me at the stairs and pleads, "Mommy, will YOU pray with me? I'm afraid."
There are very particular times when I feel the Holy Spirit soften my heart instantly. This was one of those times. I took him in my arms and we stood outside his room.... and started to pray.. but he stopped me.
"Mommy, is Jesus real? or is he just fake like Santa and the tooth fairy? Is he real? Tell me. Don't lie to me. I want to know. Is there really a person who is listening to me pray or just a nobody there?"
I was quite silenced.
I have always loved imagination. I've always loved fairy tales and fantasy. I love holidays. I love theme parks. I love make-believe. And because I loved it so much, I dove whole-heartily into the world of make believe as a child and I believed.
Christmas, especially, was a wonderful time. My parents where SO fun and made this holiday quite magical. When I set a plate of cookies out for Santa, SANTA was eating them. My brother and I would swear we could hear the pitter-patter of reindeer on our roof. I remember, like it was yesterday, lying in my bed and waiting... watching the clock... wondering, "has Santa had time to come and go yet, or is it too soon to go downstairs and see my gifts." It was so fun and thrilling. I believed my parents when they told me he was real. I fought with my friends at school over this. After all, my parents wouldn't tell me something that wasn't true. right?
Now, in their defense, I never remember questioning them. They never "lied" to me. I never challenged the concept. So finally, after much arguing with several of my friends at school one day regarding this topic, I stepped up and asked the big question, and of course, my mother told me the truth about Santa and I went up to my room, closed the door and sobbed..heart-broken.
But I later learned that I was not the average child. Most kids didn't believe. Most kids had it figured out. They hunted down the gifts. They wanted the "proof". I never did this. At this time in my life, I simply blindly accepted and believed. So as my own children began to grow older and more and more of the culture began asking them "So what is Santa going to bring you this year?" I could only visualize their faces, years from now, buried in a pillow bawling their eyes out after my shattering their years of belief in someone with a casual,Of course, Santa isn't real. Why would I choose to speak anything other than the truth? How would I handle this?
Chris and I made a decision to always... always..regardless of what the culture or our families or our friends say to us... to ALWAYS speak with complete honesty to our children. We felt very convicted about this. We figured the Lord knows our children better than we do. He already sees them as teenagers while we are holding them for the first time as infants. He fashioned their personalities.
But if I'm honest, this decision wasn't easy. It's hard to look into the faces of "believing" children on Christmas eve... full of wonder and anticipation. Evil whispers in my ear...you are depriving your children of the joy of Christmas HA! That looks so strange now after having written it out. But Satan does whisper that to me. I am so thankful for my wise husband who counters that attack with, "Is there anything more needed to add to the wonder and joy of Christmas than Christ-Holy God of all creation- coming to earth-becoming a human- and saving us?" I think about that often during the holidays. I see my children happy and still full of wonder and excitement.. huh, shocking, right?
The Lord doesn't promise to always return to us the fruit of our labor, but tonight I tasted a harvest. In tears, I was able to hold my boy and emphatically proclaim:
"YES, Will. Jesus is real. He's the real thing. He's alive and here and listening to us. That is why it was so awesome when he died and came back to life. It meant He lives forever. There are no special occasions He is bound by. There's no far off place where He lives. He lives IN US. We ALWAYS have access to HIM. Mommy and Daddy have NEVER told you anything that wasn't true. This is true. He is true. Yes, Will. Jesus is real and He HEARS you when you pray."
Will wiped his eyes and cleared his throat.
"Ok, then I'm ready to talk to Him," he said.
We did and when we had finished, he quietly walked into his room.
I haven't heard from him since.