We’re going to play a game.
I’m going to say a phrase and you’re going to say what comes to mind. Ready?
Do frantic parents running into stores grabbing, shoving, pushing to get one in their hands come to mind? This was the case several years ago when TickleMe Elmo was the “must have” item of the year. I remember news stations flashing pictures of fully stocked shelves with the red Elmos lined up and then disturbing images as mobs of crazy parents selfishly grabbed, tucked and ran for the door as if making a touchdown! Oh my, was I ever glad that my daughter was too little to want one of those that year.
Tickle Me Elmo wasn’t the only eye catching toy of the year….do you remember Teddy Ruxpin, Beanie Babies, G.I. Joe? Maybe Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, Koosh Balls, or Furby? Or, maybe more recently, Nintendo DS, Biscuit My Lovin’ Pup, or Zhu Zhu Pets. It seems there is always one hot item each year!
This year it seems the Elf on the Shelf is our star player. If you were to go to their official website www.elfontheshelf.com you would read the following about this cute Christmas tradition:
“The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition includes a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the scout elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their scout elf each morning.”
As an adult, it truly is fun to hide the Elf and watch the kids curiously searching for his new spot each morning. Hanging from ceiling fans, hidden in coffee mugs, sneakers, and little Barbie cars, caught in curious poses like flying on a Star Wars Lego ship or driving a toy Fire Engine are what make finding this little Elf so much fun!
This did get me wondering though…
What if we were to use a symbol of Christ’s birth the same way? What if we were to put as much focus on, say, a mini baby blanket, that we hid each morning so our kids could wake up and find it somewhere neatly tucked among the napkins or in the paper towel roll? Or what if we intentionally hid the baby Jesus figurine from our nativity….placing Him all over the house, in different rooms, for our children to find each morning.
Maybe as they searched the rooms in the house, our children would also want to search and invite Him into all the rooms of their heart, too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Elf on a Shelf! If I had seen it sooner, I, too, would have jumped on board to play each Christmas. But, I also want to be more intentional about focusing on the real symbols of Christmas and spotlighting them in our home each year.
May we always keep a healthy balance of fun and joy as we model to our children the importance and impact of a true Christmas symbol. What will you do this year to spotlight the manger?