Hello and happy new year! I know this kind of late but with all of the Christmas busyness, I just never had time to devote to getting this blog post up but I do now, so here it is!
When I was little my family did the whole Santa experience. We went to see the jolly man in the mall each year, we wrote out our Christmas letter to him and left it in our stockings for him to come pick up. He’d leave candy in my stocking all throughout the month leading up to Christmas. We’d draw him a picture sometimes and leave it in our stocking–which he’d replace with a candy cane and a note thanking me for the picture. So, when I got older and found out he wasn’t “real”, I was shattered–right? Nope. When I found out that this man wasn’t real, I didn’t have an issue with it. My world didn’t come crashing down around me as I wondered what else wasn’t true. This is merely a part of growing up. Santa isn’t real but that doesn’t mean the joy he brings isn’t real, the excitement of waiting for him wasn’t real, or the wonderful memories of sitting on his lap on cold December days aren’t real.
You see just because he isn’t a real person doesn’t mean we can’t take joy in him. If you didn’t do anything just because it isn’t real you would hardly do anything at all! I mean movies, books, TV shows, songs, fables, and games aren’t really real yet you enjoy them, right? Why? Because they make you happy or remind you of someone or something, or they evoke a feeling, help you to understand something or see it in a new light, or you are able to share them with someone you enjoy being with and to you that makes them very real. It’s the same with Santa.
I recently heard someone say that if parents let their kids believe in Santa that when your child finds out the truth they’ll start second guessing Christ and wondering if they were lied to about Him, also. Well, if you went about it all wrong that could happen but never for a moment did I ask that question. I didn’t suddenly think that my parents were liars or that I’d been misled. There are many ways parents build moral authority in a child’s life. Being there, being honest, being open and easy to talk to, allowing their children to express their doubts and fears or ask questions and being willing to answer them (even if they are sometimes uncomfortable) helps the child to trust their parents. Bedtime stories aren’t real but I loved them, too. Myths are part and parcel of our lives. Stories are and have been used for millenniums to convey truths. If you told a child that the stories, books, shows and movies about Santa are strictly real, then, yes, that would t confuse them and you’d be telling them a lie. But he doesn’t have to be presented in that fashion for him to be a part of Christmas.
Some say that’s it’s replacing Christ to have Santa be a part of Christmas but I think that is entirely untrue. Santa is a myth but his story points to the greater story–in fact, it points to the greatest story of all. Why does Santa give gifts on Christmas? Why do we? Because God is a gift giver and He gave us Jesus. Christ is the meaning, the center of, the reason for CHRISTmas. I like what Dr. R.C. Sproul said on the subject: “Doesn’t Santa Claus paganize or at least trivialize Christmas? He’s a myth, and his very mythology casts a shadow over the sober historical reality of Jesus. Not at all. Myths are not necessarily bad or harmful. Every society creates myths. They are a peculiar art form invented usually to convey a message that is deemed important by the people. When a myth is passed off as real history, that is fraud. But when it serves a different purpose it can be healthy and virtuous. Kris Kringle is a mythical hero, not a villain. He is pure fiction — but a fiction used to illustrate a glorious truth.”
We let ourselves worry so much about letting something replace Christ that we let that worry replace him. The grinchy scrooginess (or scroogie grinchiness if you wish!) comes out and everyone is cocked and ready to fire any time anyone dares challenge their disbelief in Santa or even in Christmas itself.
I hope y’all had a very Merry Christmas and are having a happy New Year! I’ll try to have my next post out soon.