Surely you’ve heard of The Elf on the Shelf. It’s a book by mother-daughter team Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell about an elf who is the eyes and ears of Santa and fills in the Jolly One on who is good and who is bad, who is sleeping and who’s not, etc., so that he can distribute (or not distribute) gifts at Christmas time. One only has to be on Facebook during the holiday season to see how big this “new” Christmas tradition has become. But The Elf on the Shelf is not just a book that you read to your children – it’s an experience.
Besides reading the book, you are supposed to have your very own elf doll which you name. The premise is that this elf returns to the North Pole and reports to Santa each night while the children are sleeping. The next morning the children look for the elf to see where he is and sometimes what mischief he has gotten into. Parents help perpetuate the fantasy by setting up little vignettes of naughtiness. Perhaps a flour-dusted elf sits on the kitchen counter with a plate of cookies he made during the night. Or maybe he’s in the bathroom where he’s written Christmas-themed graffiti all over the bathroom mirror. Or he could be wrapped in ribbons of toilet paper after having “rolled” the living room. You get the picture. If you don’t quite get it yet, just Google it or do a Pinterest search and you’ll understand in no time.
In this post I explained why my family doesn’t do Santa. So it should come as no surprise to you that when it comes to The Elf on the Shelf, I’m not a fan. I encourage you to read my post on Santa, but there are two main reasons why we don’t participate in this holiday tradition: (1) It isn’t true and (2) Santa Claus is given attributes that belong to God and God alone. These 2 reasons also apply to The Elf on the Shelf.
As in the Santa scenario, if a child is perfectly aware that this is a game of pretend, then I have no problem with it. However, for most parents the truth sucks all the fun out it. The deception is the entertaining part of it to adults. But children have just as much fun when they know the truth, and then they don’t have to suffer the disappointment when they learn they’ve been duped. As a Christian, I want my children to know that I am an upholder of TRUTH.
Since the elf reports to Santa, reason #2 also remains valid in this case. Only God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. God’s not big on sharing His glory (Isaiah 48:11). I sure don’t want to be responsible for falsely teaching little ones that there is someone else who is all-knowing and all-powerful, do you?
On the flap of the book jacket the mother part of the author duo, Carol Aebersold, says, “Unwittingly, the tradition provided an added benefit: it helped the children to better control themselves. All it took was a gentle reminder that the ‘elf is watching,’ for errant behavior to be modified.” To that I say, “Bwahahahahahaha!!!! Har dee har har har har!!! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!” Excuse me while I wipe the tears of laughter running down my cheeks… Is she serious? Modified behavior? For how long? Two months? Two weeks? Two days??? More like two minutes!
I’ll give you an example. Last Christmas my husband and I were in the grocery store. We ran into someone we knew who was doing the grocery shopping with his two young children. They were behaving – how do I say this? – HORRENDOUSLY. Terrible. Horrible. Out of control. He needed to park his shopping cart, take them home, and take care of business. But what did he do? Every few minutes he’d say something like, “Come back… Don’t put that in the cart… Stop running… Don’t forget the elf is watching!” He actually told us how effective the Elf was in controlling his children’s behavior. I don’t know how he said it with a straight face.
Besides, shouldn’t HE be controlling his children’s behavior? Shouldn’t PARENTS be modifying conduct? Especially since that little elf is only around for about one month a year! And have you ever known anyone who truly made good on any of their threats to their children about not getting presents for Christmas because they were naughty? I certainly don’t.
I can’t help but wonder what else we’ll come up with to shift our focus from the holy and sacred to the irreverent and silly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jesus is enough! He truly is. He is not just enough – He’s EVERYTHING. Here are some wonderful ideas for holiday family activities that center around Christ:
Christmas Advent Candle from Vermont Christmas Company
Free Printable Advent Calendars from Google search
I encourage you to put away The Elf on the Shelf, get out the manger scene and teach your children about the TRUE meaning of Christmas and how Jesus is better than any elf!
This year Hanukkah begins the evening of November 27 and ends the evening of December 5. Also called Chanukkah or the Festival of Lights, it is a Jewish holiday which not only celebrates a extraordinary victory of a small group of brave and vastly outnumbered Jews over the mighty Syrian-Greek army, but it also commemorates a miracle that took place in the Temple after the battle. When the Jews took back possession of the Temple from their foes in the 2nd century B.C., they wanted to light the candelabrum that was supposed to burn continually in the Temple. However, there was only enough properly consecrated oil to burn for one day. They lit the candles anyway, and that one day supply of oil miraculously burned for eight days until more oil could be prepared.
A fascinating fact about Hanukkah 2013 is that it begins the evening of our Thanksgiving Day which is November 27 this year. This hasn’t happened since 1888, and some say it won’t happen again until the year 79,811!
You can find more information about the history and celebration of this special Jewish holiday at the very informative website www.chabad.org.
Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. All over the world people are praying for Christians who are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. In honor of this day, I am re-posting this which was originally posted on September 21, 2012. Won’t you pray with us?
Did you know that 70% of the world’s population lives in countries with heavy restrictions on religion? Did you know that more than one hundred million Christians worldwide are currently suffering interrogations, arrest, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ? All of this happens on a daily basis around the world while Christians in the West enjoy relative peace, security, and freedom.
First Corinthians Chapter 12 compares the church, the body of Christ, to a physical body with each member having a different function. Verse 26 says that if one member suffers, then all the members suffer with it. Open Doors is a ministry dedicated to serving persecuted Christians worldwide and they would like to invite you to share the wonderful privilege of standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who share our faith but not our freedom.
Please visit onewiththem.com and order a barbwire wristband today. Then be prepared to share with others who ask why you are wearing barbwire.
On behalf of suffering saints all over the world, THANK YOU.
I have decided that I need several of these Kokuyo NeoCritz Transformer Pencil Cases from JetPens. (Also available from Amazon by clicking here.)Not only do they hold your writing instruments, but as their name indicates, they transform into something else – a standing pencil holder! I’d like to have different colors to hold the different kinds of marking tools that I use when doing inductive Bible study. I think I’ll get the orange one to hold my favorite pens, the green one for my favorite colored pencils, and the yellow one for the new markers I got on my trip to Japan this past summer.
Which one(s) do you think you need?
The capital of ancient Israel may be less than half a square mile, but Jerusalem is one of the most pivotal cities in all of human history. It has been besieged, destroyed, and rebuilt several times and remains one of the most beautiful yet controversial places on earth.
National Geographic has made a film about Jerusalem in 3D for the big screen. JERUSALEM is currently showing in IMAX theaters, science centers and other venues around the world. To find a theater near you showing this remarkable movie, click here. For more information on the making of the movie or to watch the movie trailer, click here.