My plan to get them settled down and drift off to sleep failed miserably.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. It is especially so when we remember that it is a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For me, the reading and re-reading of the Gospel of Luke’s account of Christ’s birth is a must during this time of year. My Christmas does not seem complete unless I’ve read it and had the opportunity to hear it read in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas Eve.
We kept this practice with our own children beginning at a very young age. My wife, Debbie, and I were blessed to have three sons of our own. Every Christmas Eve we would gather round together and share the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. We tried to make this a tradition that took place a short while prior to putting them in bed for the night. We hoped to fill their heads with visions of Jesus and not just Santa Claus, toys, and candy.
One Christmas Eve we were having a really hard time getting the boys to settle down. We had our supper, taken baths, brushed teeth, and were trying really hard to get them to settle down. I would venture to guess that the age range for this particular year was eight, six and four. So, they were very young, and very excited about presents they would be opening in the morning. We finally got them to sit for the reading of the birth of Christ. This was followed by the normal questions that arose every time about how did Santa know where to bring the baby Jesus’ toys, or why did they have to stay in a stable instead of their granny’s house? Finally, it was time to put them to bed!
Mom and dad were basking in the light of the Christmas tree in the den when we heard the giggles and whispers coming from the boys' room. We took turns scolding and cajoling for what seemed like the next 30-40 minutes to no avail. They were so keyed up with excitement that they couldn’t sleep. We tried to not get angry with them, but we really wanted to get some sleep ourselves. After all, Santa still had some assembling to do!
I finally came up with an idea that I thought just might work. I planned on slipping out the back door of our home to silently creep around to the window just outside of the boys' room. I would then, in a voice like Santa, admonish the boys to go to sleep, or I would pass them by and not leave any presents. Debbie agreed with my plan. Looking back on it now I suppose she was even sleepier than I thought at the time, or she would have never gone along with this hair-brained scheme.
I slipped out the door and made my way around to the kid’s room window. It was open just slightly and so in a deep voice I said “HO, HO, HO, THIS IS SANTA, AND IF JASON, CHRIS, AND TIMOTHY DON’T MIND THEIR PARENTS AND GO TO SLEEP I WON’T BE STOPPING AT THEIR HOUSE TONIGHT! Then, I crept back into the house.
We didn’t hear a peep out of them for about two long minutes. Then, all three burst out of the room screaming and crying like they had heard a ghost. Jason’s eyes were as big as saucers he was so frightened. My plan to get them settled down and off to sleep failed miserably. They were now too scared to sleep. After what seemed an eternity they each fell asleep. Of course, they were in our bed with us because someone must be outside their window.
I did learn a lesson that Christmas. Never try to scare your children into obedience. This is especially so when you have already told them that a chubby guy in a suit is paying them a visit. Also, don’t make rash decisions while sleep deprived. My boys still tell of that night. Not necessarily with fond memories. We laugh about it now. Of course, the counseling bills added up even with a discount for three. Just kidding! Merry Christmas to All!