Five days until Christmas. When I picture what one “should” be doing five days before Christmas, I see something like this:
I see grocery lists and last-minute gift buying. I see cleaning the house for the coming company and baking holiday cookies while listening to the “Classic Christmas” station on Pandora. I see a family movie marathon, featuring Elf, A Christmas Story, and the old-school Drummer Boy classic.
Five days before Christmas, the anticipation of the celebration of our Savior’s birth is peaking, and for a few blessed days all seems pure, even holy.
You’ll understand, then, why I was so disheartened this morning while my husband and I sat on our sofa with our seven-year-old son, having a very difficult conversation about his significant sin issue.
At this point, most of you know what we’ve been dealing with. The Great Christmas Gift Vandal. If you don't, check out the video that started the whole saga below (and visit the Feel Free to Laugh Facebook page for the full story).
Almost 10 days of present opening and blame-shifting and lying. It started with the edges of gifts being torn and pulled back. Then pulled a little more. And more. Soon the gifts were fully exposed, and once I discovered them it seemed “no one” had committed the crime. My youngest son suggested it might be the dog.
I might have entertained the same thought at one point in time. #DidIJustAdmitThat?
My youngest son, the five-year-old-dog-blamer, 'fessed up last week to being the vandal. The problem is, he was innocent, and I knew it. He later told me he took the blame because he was afraid I was going to take all the Christmas presents back to the store if someone didn't confess.
After several days of vandalism, my husband and I decided to buy a nanny cam for our living room, and we trained it directly on the tree, as you can see below.
Then we waited.
Over the next several days, we saw some very interesting nanny-cam footage. We found that both our boys were around the tree early one morning, and we heard my older son instruct his younger brother to “find the red race-car present and open it.” The problem? We had taken said red race-car present and rewrapped it in blue paper, so he couldn’t find it.
The next day we found that my older son had spent a significant amount of time in front of the tree (and the gifts) by himself, and that by that evening the edges of several gifts were peeled back. Being the evil parents that we are, we went so far as to wrap a box full of fake poop in the sought after red race-car paper in hopes that he'd open that one and experience quite a surprise. #BecausePoop
He didn't open it, so we're leaving it under the tree for a sort of Christmas morning surprise. #AgainBecausePoop
I was fairly certain about who the culprit was yesterday but we waited a bit longer to be 100% positive. By this morning he had taken one present and opened it entirely (and it wasn’t even a present for him), and we were sure.
At that point, we knew he was behind all of the drama, and we staged somewhat of an intervention. Let me be clear: the problem was NOT the gift opening. All kids try to sneak peeks at their Christmas presents; heck, I remember hunting for mine all through the house every single year. The problem is that, for this particular child, lies roll off his tongue without a thought or conviction. He has a pattern of deception, and this snowball has grown to the point that we have to address it. When asked about the gift opening, he denied it. Repeatedly. He blamed it on his brother. He LET his brother take the blame for something he knew HE was responsible for. Even this morning, after I had watched the nanny-cam footage and seen him opening yet another gift, he denied the entire thing when we first approached him about it.
He has a sin problem.
So do I.
So do you.
As my husband and I were sitting with my seven-year-old this morning, I listened to my husband speak words of great wisdom and truth. They were words that were appropriate for my son. They were appropriate for me, too.
My husband looked my son in the eyes and told him how loved he is. He explained that we want to see a change in his behavior because dishonesty is never okay and because it completely breaks his relationship with us. He explained that, most of all, God wants to rescue him from this sin and to see him refined and changed, because God isn't content to leave us in our sin. He doesn't want us to settle for a crumb when He's inviting us to a feast at his table, a feast of love and grace and holiness and righteousness. God doesn't want my son to turn from his sin because God requires perfection; He wants my son to turn from His sin because it's what is best for him. Because He is so full of love and compassion and He sees the pain that will come if we remain slaves to our sin. He wants so much more for us, and He convicts and exposes and allows us to experience pain now in the hopes that we'll make a change.
He is so good.
The reason for this holiday season, the real reason we celebrate, is Jesus. He came to earth fully God and wore our flesh, all so he could die a painful, unearned death to rescue us from sin and hell once and for all. And rescue us, he has. Will you let him rescue you today?
Whatever you're walking through, whatever sin has you bound up, whatever issues is snowballing in your own life, I encourage you turn back to Jesus. He's simply the best about offering grace and love and helping us out of tough situations. Don't remain in your sin a moment longer.
As for my little buddy, well...he lost many, many privileges today. As my husband told him, when you break trust by choosing deceit, it takes a long, long time to earn it back. He is now in the process of earning our trust, and a loooooonnngggg process it WILL be. Thankfully, once he finally knew he was found out, he came clean about everything, and I think he feels a sense of relief that it's all out in the open.
I know I do.
Merry Christmas, friends, and keep on keeping on (and laughing often)!