It’s an interesting story – the one about Santa Claus. You know, the ho-ho-ho jolly, merry man who wants to help every boy and girl in the whole wide world. So, magically, he traverses the world in one night, riding in a sleigh, plummeting down chimneys to deliver the most awesome presents that any child could imagine.
The Christmas season speaks of goodwill and heralding hope for the world, but somehow many children miss the real message in their dreams of all things-wished-for. There’s a reason why the angels were joyful in their tidings to the shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest!”
In our home, we talked about Santa Claus. We didn’t try to shield our kids from the Santa portrayers in the mall, stores, or parades. While we taught our kids that Santa was just a story and it wasn’t real at all, we didn’t encourage them to shun the Santas they saw.
When folks asked our kids, “What do you hope Santa brings you for Christmas?” they were puzzled. They weren’t hoping for anything from Santa. They knew their best chance at getting what they wanted was their own mama and papa.
There are reasons why we chose not to share in the fantasy of Santa We had some good reasons, and those reasons are just as valid today as they were back then.
I recognize that Dave and I didn’t have any nostalgic memories of Santa ourselves, so it wasn’t hard to omit that jolly character in our Christmas celebration. Yet our decision was based more on God’s call on our lives than on the fact that this was the way we were raised. Certainly all of us are influenced by our upbringing, but that upbringing needs to be scrutinized with the whole of scripture when we want to make decisions about raising our children.
In comparing the story of Santa with the real story of Christmas, we came to several conclusions. In reading what God says about truthfulness and lying, we found answers.
Righteous people hate what is false, and God detests lying lips.
If you find that hard to believe, Google what the Bible says about lying. Those words are there.
Based on God’s Word and our own desire to be honest with our children, we made the choice to be truthful with our children about Santa Claus. Looking back now, we would make the same choice.
These are the reasons:
1. Telling a child that Santa Claus is real is a lie.
We didn’t lie to our kids. Our children need to be able to trust us and to believe what we say. If we lie to them when they are small, how will they know when to believe us when they are older? Not only do we want our children to trust us to be truthful to them, God commands us to be truthful.
When we approve “white lies”, we usually end up approving “black lies” later. We ought to not be surprised if our children don’t trust us if we aren’t truthful to them in even the small things.
Telling our kids that Santa is real is not only a lie, it creates an imposter who claims the power and ability to be everywhere that only God has. God alone is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He, and only He, is all-knowing and sees everything, whether it is “bad or good”.
2. The real story of Christmas is about a Miracle instead of magic.
Magic is pretend, make-believe and fun to play. It is not real. Miracles and Majesty are real.
While there is no way one jolly man in a red suit could cover the entire world in one night, there is Someone who is everywhere all at the same time. Now that’s a miracle!
Telling our kids that Santa can be everywhere when he can’t be is a lie. It just isn’t true.
Instead, we should help our children understand the wonder and majesty of a God Who is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent (all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present). Talk about a Miracle!
Because He is everywhere, our children will never, ever be completely alone. That’s not magic. That’s a Miracle!
We believe in miracles, and we wanted our kids to understand and believe in them, too.
Telling our kids that magic is real is not only a lie, it belittles the wonder and power of true miracles.
3. The meaning of gift giving is to celebrate the best gift that was ever given: Jesus, our Messiah and our Savior.
At this season of the year, we also celebrate family, love, and belonging because of this Gift. In celebration of the gift given by the Father, we give gifts. The gift of Jesus the Son was not given because we deserve it or because we’ve been nice instead of naughty. This Gift was given because we are all naughty and we need to be changed into becoming nice. With our own children, we love them because they are ours even when they are naughty and not nice.
Many people threaten their children with no gifts because of bad behavior. Really? Amazingly, the same gifts that were promised to be withheld end up being given – as most kids knew they would. Sure, we believe in discipline and consequences. Yet our gift giving is not a reward for good behavior – and it ought not be portrayed as such.
Telling our children that the gifts come from Santa is not only a lie, it’s a misrepresentation of the true meaning of Christmas celebrations.
Any way you slice it, telling our children that the story of Santa is real is a lie. Using the story of Santa as the method behind gift-giving is not being honest. Using the promise of gifts as a bribe to gain good behavior is also not a truthful expression of gift giving.
It’s true that the spirit of Santa is good. He’s a pretend person who is a kind, generous, and benevolent man who works hard all year just to give to children one night in the year. How much better it would be for us to model that kind of generosity and benevolence in our community so that our children will know our faith is authentic and real.
That’s the real majesty – and miracle – of Christmas.