Focus, Christmas, Focus

The holidays never fail to bring with them a flurry of chaos, drama and countless reasons to be grateful for all the good amidst the dire. That being said, I'm not writing about my dear friend's newborn baby who rode in an ambulance this week, about the cousin who called 911 because he thought he'd had a heart-attack only to discover there was a growth the size of Texas under his sternum, about world hunger, a friend's kidney transplant or the raging fever my daughter has had for two days.
I'm writing about a children's book that is quite possibly my favorite for 2008. Santa's Favorite Story, written by Hisako Aoki, illustrated by Ivan Gantschev is the sweetest combination of Santa and Jesus that ever landed in my lap.
As you may know, the issue of religion is a touchy one with me. I was raised Catholic, mass every Sunday, Catechism School every Tuesday. I've been baptized, communioned, confirmed, and castrated, I mean chastised, I meant, well, you get the idea. If you haven't already guessed, I'm no longer a practicing Catholic.
My husband has no religious background, so quite logically, we spend our Sundays cooking bacon and playing dress-up with the kids. Last year I realized, upon my mother's urgings, that for all the vocabulary I had dauntingly exposed my daughters to over the years, I forgot one word: God.
And so the education began, on my mom's behalf, of introducing The Almighty God and Jesus Christ (not as a swear word). Shelby received a book from my Grandma called "Jesus and The Twelve Dudes Who Did" that my father mockingly read, much to our delight, with a Cheech Marin accent. Shelby thinks the twelve apostles finish their proclamations with, "essssaaay!" I'm currently on the fence about Him. Well, actually, He and I are just fine, it's the church I have a problem with. Naturally, I do not attend mass and neither do my children (John has only sat in a church pew twice in his life). But occasionally, like this Christmas, when my mom implores us to acknowledge her faith and go to church, I am intrigued by the offer.
As a fairly conscientious parent, I am ever evaluating the world in which my children live, the exposure I provide and deny them, and the choices I have made thus far in their upbringing. I do not regret spending my Sundays fidgeting on a hard wood pew, sneaking giggles, dressed in itchy tights, reciting the Our Father. I wouldn't be me without my understanding of the Catholic Church. Who will my daughters be without my same background? How will they cope with death and heaven? How will they see the world if they don't feel guilty about it all the time like a good Catholic does?
So I'm focusing on this children's book because it melded together two worlds, the common consumer's Santa Claus Christmas with the old-fashioned wood manger version just perfectly in my opinion. Go forth, and read.


H said...

Thank you, I look forward to reading it. Have a happy holiday! Hope your little one feels better.

Gabrielle said...

I hope the OB Library is still open for you!! We spend a LOT of time there, I couldn't imagine not having one nearby. Thanks again for all of your comments! It's so rewarding to log on and find someone writing BACK! THanks! G

Anonymous said...

I just sent this to my Mom and am sure we will be getting this book for xmas. We have almost the exact same church/religion issue in my family. Thank you for the tip, and the blog! Merry Christmas! P.S. our little one will have her first chance to sit in the splintery wooden pews on xmas eve this year, a big step for my family!