Up With the Chickens

Raising children and chickens on a little buffalo farm

Move Over Elf on the Shelf. The Wise Men are in the House.

on November 28, 2012

This article has been reblogged at my new blog, Charming Farming.  Scroll down to read the whole thing…

We don’t have an Elf on the Shelf, but I’ve read about them on the Internet, and I think I get the idea. Sometime in the weeks before Christmas, this little guy makes an appearance. His job is to keep an eye on the kiddos for Santa – to see who’s being naughty and who’s being nice. But at night, when everyone is sound asleep, the elf goes around causing mischief. The next morning delighted tots wake up and find Santa’s helper has been very busy. I’ve seen pictures of shelf elves drinking syrup from a straw, wallowing in a bag of powdered sugar, and playing Candy Land with Woody and Buzz. I’ve read blogs where parents offer elaborate suggestions for elf antics. One even suggested having the family’s elf sneak around at night swapping the clothes in all the closets. I can assure you, any elf of mine who tried that would himself relocated to the bottom of the Goodwill pile.

But as I’ve said, we don’t have an elf. Oh we love Santa. We write him letters, leave out cookies and milk, and even track his Christmas Eve journey on the NORAD website. At least we used to. This will be the first year that none of the kids even pretend to still believe. Ouch!

Anyway, it’s not that I’m anti-elf, but we do try to keep the spirit of advent during the weeks leading up to Christmas. It might come as a surprise to some people, but mad rushes to the mall, festive parties, and feisty trouble-making elves are not traditionally the way Christians have prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Traditionally Advent has been a time of prayerful reflection as the Church prepares to meet her Lord, not only as a baby in a manger, but also as King of kings at the end of time.

That’s not to say our family doesn’t have fun Advent traditions. We just try to keep the focus on Christ. So instead of a scampish elf roaming about in search of trouble, we have wise kings roaming about in search of Baby Jesus. And instead of Mommy and Daddy having all the fun, everyone gets a wiseman to move/hide. Admittedly, the Magi aren’t as zany as the elves, but they can still turn up is some odd places. And anyone who comes across a wiseman is expected to say quick prayer, then set him back on his journey.

No, you won’t find these guys getting into the Christmas cookies, but they do wind up in some odd places.

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I wonder if he’s looking for a gift of spices.

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Maybe this is how he got so wise – reading.

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I see animals, but I don’t think this is the manger.”

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Just hanging with the guys.

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6 responses to “Move Over Elf on the Shelf. The Wise Men are in the House.

  1. Ted Torreson says:

    Personally, I won’t be sharing Santa with my Kids. We’ll enjoy all the Santa movies and such. Yet they’ll know he’s not real. I love what you’re doing with the Wise Men, though. It seems like a fun way to draw the kids into the Christmas Story.

    • We debated the whole Santa thing with our first child and finally settled on Santa with a Saint Nick emphasis. I’ve never been a fan of over-the-top Santafying of Christmas, but I think the memories created by some Santa traditions are fun and harmless. Christianity has a long tradition of “baptizing” secular or even pagan customs and making them new in Christ. Unfortunately, I think the opposite has happened with Santa. A beautiful Christian custom has been commercialized almost beyond recognition.

  2. […] for John Piper fansSeveral titles from Christian Books A Sacred Space for Advent and Christmas An alternative to that annoying little Elf on a Shelf Celebrate the 12 Days of […]

  3. Oh my goodness! I love this! I’m so stealing this idea. Our nativity guys are going to have the most fun Christmas EVER! lol!

    • Have fun with your kiddos and wisemen. Our goal is to have them to the manger by Christmas Eve. Technically we should wait until the Feast of the Epiphany, but we lose steam after the 25th.

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