“Who can tell me why we celebrate Christmas?”
So opened our family dinner tonight, just mere hours after we heard about the Wal*Mart associate trampled to death in New York and the people shot to death in a California Toys R Us, all because of things. I’m not sure if it was our heavy hearts after hearing this kind of tragedy or our empty pockets after we decided we were indeed going to buy two more Nintendo DS’s and another high end item as Santa’s little elves this year that made Jamie ask this question. It was primarily aimed at the younger boys – Juliet is the purest of hearts – because it seems that they become more and more heathen as the days go on (it was just yesterday at our family Thanksgiving dinner that Connor said, “Jesus Christ, mommy” in front of Jamie’s entire family).
The kitchen was quiet for a minute, then my five-and-a-half-year-old piped up. “Um . . . so we can get presents?” His innocent little face flirted with a smile for a minute, then his sister and brother both twittered a little, perhaps nervously, as Jamie said, “But why do we give presents?” Again, nothing. Of course, Juliet knew we were testing the boys, so she sat back with an all-knowing smile on her face, watching the two of us adults trying to figure out what we were going to say next. Honestly, I was shocked that they didn’t know. We aren’t a church family, but I like to think that we know a lot about the Bible and religion in general. Little did I know that just because I know it, doesn’t mean my kids know it by default.
“Whose birthday are we celebrating?” I ask, certain that this time would be the Aha! moment. Liam squirmed a little, looked at Connor then looked at me, helpless. I could see in his face that he didn’t want to be wrong again but he still wanted to say something. His green eyes implored me to whisper to him, to give him the answer by osmosis. He was thinking so hard . . .
Then his younger brother saved him from his humility. Connor said, in all seriousness, “I know! Mine!” His smile couldn’t have been more winning, his pride no smaller that Mount Kilimanjaro. My disappointment, though, outweighed it all when the entire family (myself included) burst into laughter at our ignorance.