Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf, Bob {And how he points us to Christ.}

So I did it. I jumped on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon. 
I thought it was creepy. I thought those moms are CRAZY to add that stress on top of all the other Christmas obligations.
But then Payton kept coming home, telling me about Jake, her teacher's Elf on the Shelf she has at home. And when asked about what she wanted for Christmas, the only thing she said was . . . yup, an Elf on the Shelf.

So he came today. It's only 2 weeks until Christmas, so that can be a little more doable, right? Plus I'm giving myself grace to keep it simple. There are a couple of fun things that I want to try, but most of the time I plan on just hiding him in different places.

He showed up with a North Pole breakfast for the kids: Mrs. Claus' hot chocolate "with a hundred marshmallows" {just like Jake brought to Payton's teachers house}, candy cane stirrers, powdered donuts, fruit salad and orange juice. Yes, it was a COMPLETE sugar rush!
The look on the kids face was awesome. Totally worth it. And that was before they even noticed the Elf sitting there.
Dylan said, "This is the best breakfast this year!".
Like the "hundred marshmallows"? She did!
So here's the thing. We do "celebrate" Santa. But he's not the focus. We are always trying to point Christmas back to Christ. All this stuff is fun, but JESUS is the reason . . . not just for this season, but for everything in life. When the kids ask about Santa we get to tell them how our "Santa" today is modeled after a pastor, Saint Nicholas, from long long ago. How he served the Lord by giving gifts to those who needed it.
So how could I use the Elf to point the kids to Christ??? Well, thanks to Pinterest, I came across this perfect blog post, and used her idea for the premise of the Elf. She had this great "intro" letter from the Elf that I copied and adapted for our kids.
Here's what the letter said:
Dear Dylan, Payton & Rylan,
I hope you three are having a great Christmas season so far!
This time of year – this time we call “Christmas” – gets very busy and kind of crazy.  Everyone just focuses on “want, want, want.”  Have you been telling your Mommy and Daddy what you want for Christmas?  It’s ok to want a few things, but I’ve seen people – grown ups and kiddos – get very selfish with all the stuff they want.  They want so many things that they forget the whole reason we even have Christmas….
Jesus – God’s son who was born a long, long, long time ago… 
The very first “Christmas present” ever given to the whole big world.
I don’t want you kiddos to forget about Jesus as you prepare for Christmas.  I want you to enjoy all the fun – hot chocolate, singing Christmas songs, candy and presents – but I don’t want you to forget the most important present: God’s love for us and His son, Jesus.  I don’t want you to forget that it’s still important to love others … to be nice to other people … to help other people (even your Mommy, Daddy, and each other) … to show other people how wonderful Jesus is.
So, I am here to help you kids (and your Mommy and Daddy) remember these important parts about Christmas: Jesus, God’s love and our job of joyfully sharing that love with others through our gifts, kind words and loving actions (the things we do for one another). I'm going to hang out at your house, watching everything that happens … as a reminder for you to:
  • Love each other
  • Speak nicely to one another
  • Help each other 
  • Help your friends and neighbors too
  • Give to people who don’t have all the stuff you have
  • Remember that God loves you three so, so, SO very much.
I'm going to talk to Santa every night about you guys and how you are doing this Christmas Season.
Looking forward to seeing great things and wonderful love from each of you.
Your Elf on the Shelf

Perfect, right? {I will add that the letter is a little long, the kids seemed to lose interest a bit towards the end, so if you copy this - shorten your letter a little!}
After Chris read the letter we started discussing what we would name him. Dylan suggested Bob or Charlie. Payton paused for a bit and said, "Like Mr. Bob! I like that name." Mr. Bob is our dear neighbor from the apartments we stayed at for a couple of months when we first moved to Tennessee. Naming the Elf Bob is perfect because Mr. Bob is kind, helpful, encouraging, always speaks about Jesus, just like what the Elf is here to remind us to do.
So without further ado, meet Bob.

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