I remember as a child on Christmas listening for Santa on the roof of my house. I remember the joy of waking up excited to see what presents were waiting for me under the tree - and I remember not understanding why my parents were so tired on Christmas morning! Then, I became a parent…and then I couldn’t believe how difficult Fisher Price made it for “Santa” to put together a child’s toy! I couldn’t believe how tired I would be on Christmas Day after only getting a few hours of sleep - because it took my boys so long to go to sleep and I couldn’t begin “Santa Duties” until the boys were fast asleep. Growing up, both Michele’s family and my family enjoyed Santa Claus, and we did the same with our children. One of my dearest friends in all the world - who happens to be our Children’s Minister - never did Santa with his children. I believe that “Santa” is an individual family’s decision, and Bro. Jeff’s children never told my children any different. Now for the shocker…If I had it to do all over again, I would not do Santa with my children. Now, in family this would probably call for a collective gasp at this point, and let me state I don’t think a parent is wrong regardless of their view of Santa…but I do look back and see some difficulties in the way we handled things with our boys.
Michele and I always agreed if our boys ever point blank asked “Is there a Santa?” we would not say yes. However, we did present Santa to them as Omniscient (all knowing), one who rewards us based on our actions, one who can do the impossible, and so on. We take them to see Santa, we talk about Santa, we read stories about Santa - but then on Christmas Eve we talk about Jesus to them while they are anxiously awaiting Santa. Now, I do not feel my parents, nor most parents are “lying” to the children - they are just allowing the innocence of a childhood imagination to run wild. This is fun, it is fairy tale land, however, there is really no other fairy tale that we ask our children to live out or act upon and have faith in like Santa. Then, on top of this, there are many churches across our land that will have Santa come to Children’s Church, putting those parents who do not want to play Santa in a very difficult position. Now, while it is up to each family to make their decision if they will “do the Santa thing”, I don’t believe it should be answered with an easy “of course” as Michele and I did. If I had thought through the questions my children would ask, and thought through the confusion it could have caused, in all honesty I probably would have let my kids be kids and enjoy their toys, and their pretending and all the joy of the cartoons during holidays… but I would have passed on Santa.
I write this knowing some will get more angry about me “Rethinking Santa” than if someone were to actually speak negatively about their brother and sister in Christ (oops, sorry most don’t get very upset about that). But, it would do all believers well to understand that there really is someone who sees them when they are sleeping… and knows when they are awake….knows every action (bad or good, right?)…but even more, knows our hearts – and loves us with an unfailing love….
Here is another wonderful article by Noel Piper that ponders this issue: http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/2141_thinking_about_santa/
Have a very Merry Christmas!!