“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:19-20
Here we are in the middle of Christmas season, and Santa, I am angry with you. Last year I spilled the beans about you and ridiculously as it sounds, it been has been one of the most ostracizing decisions I have made as a Christian.
It’s made me lose sleep, it’s made people look at me funny, it’s made me feel dogmatic. I’ve often looked down through the years at my kids’ futures and the idea that they will hate me for it one day has haunted me.
I lay in bed just here tonight wiping tears because I had another ‘what have I done’ moment after reading an article in Christianity Today for pete’s sake:
“In fact I’d like to propose that teaching children about Santa Claus does not conflict with teaching them about Jesus. I propose that the Nativity story and Santa myth may have more in common than we’re prone to believe…. And we steal something precious from our children when we deny them the opportunity to believe in fairy tales and learn how to glean truth from a made-up story.” Keri Wyatt Kent
What is wrong with this picture? Why is it more difficult for me to teach my children the truth than it is to tell them a lie?
I mean good grief, Santa- you have REALLY confused their little minds.
Hannah Grace, you are a child who questions everything- Are the people on the radio really singing? Where are they? How does a microphone work? How do the Storybots talk to real people on the tv? These are just from any given day. Often times I have to tell you honestly- I just don’t know, or you’re too young to understand. And you know what? You trust my answer.
Will- you want to know the truth, but your precious mind can’t understand. Mommy tells you Santa is pretend and then you see him everywhere in the stores and hear about him on the radio and then he comes walking in at Daddy’s Christmas party and you don’t know what to do with this conflicting information. How can he be pretend when he’s right in front of you?
I have to train you not to correct everyone you meet in the month of December that asks you what is Santa bringing you. I have to coach you not to argue with other children who say he is real. And your little minds don’t know how to handle this. I see you struggle and it breaks my heart.
And it angers me. And it kindles the spirit within me, now more than ever because I see it effecting the loves of my life. And I’m angry with myself because I’ve tried to quench the Spirit within me on this, for fear of coming across as dogmatic.
I see a Santa gift bag and it bothers me. I secretly threw away a Santa book I saw yesterday before either of you saw it on the shelf. I hear Santa Claus is Coming to Town coming on and I switch to a cd.
And then I wrestle constantly with myself. Should I have done that? Doesn’t every kid need to know the words to Rudolph? My kids wouldn’t have a clue who the reindeer are or what is so special about the North Pole or that Elf on the Shelf. What am I doing to them?
These things are natural to me you see, I’ve recently (as in, before writing this post) come to realize this is evidence of the Spirit within me. It’s nothing of my own doing, and easily, oh so easily, these convictions can and will fade the more I quench Him.
But here’s what I want you to glean from this kids. I do these things to protect you and your innocent minds that are struggling with this Santa thing already. I fill you up with the truth as much as I can all day and each night as we choose a different Christmas Story to read. We have discussions about real things, like, since we know that Santa is not truth, what does that mean for kids who don’t have enough money to celebrate Christmas? They do not just magically receive a gift- they need help, and it’s our job to give it. And then I watched as you both cleaned your toys out, and said things like….. “I think another little boy would like to play with a PJ Mask Mommy, let me put it in the bag.”
Sure, there will come a day when you are older and can understand the game of Santa and I won’t have to protect the integrity of your minds so much. But I feel very strongly right now at 3 and 5 years of age, it is something that I am called to do.
Look at the verse above… I’ve always loved this verse. I can just see Mary there, adoring her newborn Son, hearing the things everyone is saying about Him, and storing them up as treasures in her heart. There’s nothing like the love of a mother and her child.
But pay attention to the end also kids- the shepherds were celebrating. And I mean, singing-shouting-praising God to everyone they met in the streets on their way back home. You know what they were celebrating? TRUTH. Everything they had seen, which was exactly as they had been told. They were celebrating Truth. Just like we are.
Wow, what comfort and peace that brings my soul.
And by the way, if you’re wondering- I called hogwash on that article from Christianity Today. And I found my own article from Desiring God- a real good one:
“If being Jesus-focused is a killjoy for your Christmas, you don’t know Him well…. I cannot see why a parent, if they know and love Jesus, if they have found Jesus to be the greatest treasure in the world, why they would bring Jesus out of the celebration and Santa into the celebration at all- I mean, he is just irrelevant. He has nothing to do with it. Zero.” Tony Reinke
Dear Lord, I love You so much. Forgive me when I seek the approval of men rather than You. Forgive me when my faith is so small and fragile. Thank You for showing up in moments like these, reminding me Whose I am, and Who lays claim inside my heart. Guide my children in Truth and Love, always giving them sensitivity to Your high calling.