So, let’s talk about Santa.
He is a decent guy, but a little creepy. Aside from the creep-factor, let me explain some reasons why I don’t like the jolly fella, and some reasons why this rotund grandfather of the world doesn’t really matter.
First, why I am not a fan. I am not a fan of Santa because he takes the spotlight off the new born King, Jesus Christ. I am not a fan of Santa because he has his little elves on the shelves spy on obedience and disobedience like little Pharisees with pointy ears. Parents, your children should be concerned with your assessment of their behavior according to God’s word, not an elf on a shelf, nor a made-up bearded man from the North. Santa is not a replacement parent, nor should he replace the God who created your children, don’t give that authority to anyone else. I am not a fan of Santa because, frankly, its not that good of a story. I like stories, and I think our minds should be filled with fiction, but good fiction (maybe a blog post later). I am not a fan of Santa because we have confused Saint Nicholas with a red-robed man of imagination. Saint Nicholas is very important to the historic, orthodox, Christian faith, Santa is not.
One more reason why I am not a fan of Santa. For some reason the belief in Santa is wrapped in thick emotion. For example, if I were to attend a family gathering where all the little children believed that Santa was going to bring them gifts in a couple days and little Billy asked me what I wanted from Santa, and I said, “Nothing. Santa is not real, he can’t bring me anything. Your parents buy you gifts because they love you.” Every parent in the room would turn red in anger and yell at me for destroying Billy’s imagination and they would never talk to me again, and I would not be allowed back to their Christmas party in 2015. All of a sudden lying to your children has a pertinent bearing on that child’s imagination? Since when? So, I am not a fan because of the irrational emotionalism attached to Santa, and the lying that occurs because of Santa.
Think of this, if Billy was out in the snow throwing snowballs at the leafless birch tree yelling, “Die alien scum! Get off my planet! You can’t have our cows!” and then came inside and asked me if aliens were real and I said, “No, Billy, they are not real.” Would me telling him the truth hinder his ability to have fun with his imagination? I doubt it. Would Billy’s parents be irate that I told him the truth about aliens? I doubt it. Heck, I may even go outside with Billy and wage war against those mean greenies, after all, you never leave a man behind. So, what’s the difference with Santa? It is fine to have fun with Santa, but why do we insist on telling our children he is real?
This is why Santa, ultimately, does not matter that much. I am fine with my children having an imagination. I want them to, but I am not going to foster a lie in their minds as a truth. Santa is a fictional character, why not treat him like it? If my kids watch Elf with my wife and me, and they say, “Who is that guy in the red?” I will say, “That’s Santa Claus.” Just like if they watched a cartoon with me where Captain America battles the Chitauri, “Daddy, what are those ugly things?” “Those, sweetie, are Chitauri.” What’s the diff?
So, this Christmas season, how about you tell your kids the truth? The only reason Santa is around is because of the Advent of Jesus. The lights, fudge, trees, gift giving, all of it, is because of Jesus, so tell your children about Him. Tell them Santa is just a made-up character, like in your favorite book or cartoon. He is just meant to be fun. Tell them about the real Saint Nicholas who punched heretics in the face for denying the divinity of Jesus Christ. And give your children tons of gifts, even when they are stinkers, because, think about, God gives us blessing upon blessing and we are bigger stinkers than our children. This is how much God loved the world, remember? So, love your kids. Eat too much fudge. Laugh with your family. Make fun of Santa’s suit. And rejoice that the King of heaven and earth reigns and is making all things new.
Recommended Links for your edification:
Who was Saint Nicholas?
What to do About Santa?
A response to What to do About Santa? titled, I Saw Mommybloggers Dissing Santa Claus
My Favorite Santa Claus Story
A very good interview about the origins of Christmas, Christmas: A Sacred Holiday in a secular Age