Several children at school and at church have talked about the Elf on the Shelf reappearing in their homes. I smile as they talk about the crazy places they’ve found their Elf. I’m tempted to have one for the classrooms, too. If we’re going to make them feel like someone is always watching and listening, we might as well go all out and have it at school as well.
Another teacher I work with overheard a conversation between two students about what might happen if the Elf or Santa could see and hear everything that someone said or did. This is a reasonable concept to present to a child or an adult, because God can and does hear and see everything we do. Much more important than what appears underneath the Christmas tree or "stockings hung by the chimney with care" is what happens after we die.
Sure, if you pester your younger siblings, the Elf on the Shelf will see it and may tell Santa. It’s an interesting threat for parents to use during the month of December, but isn’t it more important to teach them that someone who loves them more than anyone else can and does see and hear all that we do, good, bad, and indifferent?
God is watching all of us. He knows if we’ve been naughty or nice. He knows if we’ve been sleeping or up watching Netflix. He sees how we treat our spouse, children, siblings, friends, strangers, co-workers, the cashier at the grocery store, the person who took our spot in the parking lot…Isn’t that fact something more essential to consider? Not only does God see everything, but the kids see an awful lot as well.
Maybe instead of spending so much time building up the Elf on the Shelf as Santa’s secret helper/insider spy, we adults could think some more about how our actions affect others. We could use some extra prayer time to listen to what God is trying to say to us, what He would like us to do.
Don’t get me wrong. Some people have made the Elf on the Shelf an artform. Their creativity in moving Santa's little helper to different places has been thoroughly amusing. The photos I have posted here are ones that a friend from high school posted on Facebook. Her Elf certainly gets around!
Every time you see the Elf on the Shelf, say a prayer. It could be short or long, one that involves you and/or others you care about. Have that silly Elf help you grow into your best self by letting it challenge you throughout this season to be careful of your words and actions. Our loving God is always watching and listening.