Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas and Autism

Christmas is my favorite time of year!! As a child I used to peak under my door to see if I could get a glimpse of Santa's boot as he filled my house with presents.  My parents did a great job with Santa-antics, while still building a firm understanding of the true "Reason for the Season", the birth of Jesus Christ.

Before I became a parent, I imagined myself with kids... being that mom who went "all out" to make sure my offspring believed in Santa!  I still think the idea of Santa is magical....and I we all know I love magical things (hint: HP fan).  So, why does Christmas always leave me with a feeling of regret?  Well, it's because our Bella doesn't understand the concept of Santa, never has.  When she was younger, I tried to start some of the traditions that most households uphold (nativities, advents...ect), only to realize she would break the angels wings off and try to eat baby Jesus.  Poor baby Jesus ;) Our recent trip to a holiday light show reminded me of her sensory processing issues:(  Oh and Santa involves long lines (she really hates waiting).  So, I'm left with the realization that the whole "You better be good because Santa and his elves are watching" just won't fly.  In fact, this new "Elf on the Shelf" idea (genius by the way), is not something we can participate in because she has no understanding to connect the idea of "if I'm good, a magical person will make presents appear".  So much pressure on you parents... I do not envy you:)

Bella cares about spinning, laughing, tickles, and love.  She cares not one ounce about how many presents she will receive or if her sister will get more than her.  You know what?  It's a relief.  I often feel bad for parents of typical children because there is so much pressure at Christmas time.  So, although it sometimes saddens me that we have yet to be able to help Bella believe in Santa, I realize there is someone far more real who she needs to know.

Bella needs to know Jesus.  I could spend a year trying to help her understand the concept of Santa, or spend a lifetime talking about Jesus, praying to Jesus, praying on her behalf to Jesus.  

Today, I am thankful that autism shows me I need Jesus.  Today I am refocusing my efforts on Christ, and proclaiming his birth to my children.  Maybe one day Bella and Adeline will understand the concept of Santa (which would be so wonderful), but even more importantly the knowledge that Christ was born as a man, was crucified, and died for their sins.  That they can know the power of His  might (which far exceeds magic).

That is what Christmas means to me.  Don't let the hustle and bustle of the season take away from its true meaning:)