Tuesday, December 11, 2012
To Santa or Not To Santa...
Christmas season is here. Shopping has begun. Lights are turned on (I have to wear sunglasses at night when I see my neighbor's yard). It's the time of good cheer. Christmas music is on 24/7 in my house and in my van. We are singing, dancing and remembering Christmas' gone by with each song that plays.
I'm assuming that we all want to shift the Christmas focus off of the commercialism and fantasy of it all and help our children remember that the birth of Jesus is the true reason we celebrate. Reading Luke 2. Setting out the nativity set. Doing the Jesse Tree devotions. Participating in a service project. These are all good ways to help our little ones focus on Jesus.
I know Santa is somewhat controversial among young Christian moms. "Do or do we not do Santa?" is the question. Some moms are passionate about the fun of teaching Santa and all the stories that go with that. It's fun for them and fun for their little ones and was part of their upbringing also, so in a way it's nostalgic. Others are admanantly against Santa and all that he stands for. They see it purely as a diversion from the truth of the season and a means for Satan to shift focus away from the Savior.
We, at the Fish House, are kind of down the middle. I honestly don't remember a time when I truly believed in Santa. We set out the cookies. We unwrapped gifts that said "From Santa", but I think I always knew it was just for pretend. I like to teach my Fish Sticks about the true St. Nicholas, so we always read the story about the man who lived 300 years after Jesus in Turkey and who started the first traditions of giving to others secretly, loving children and serving others - all in the name of Jesus. We then read the original poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and I explain to them that the story of St. Nicholas turned into Santa Claus when a dad wrote this poem for his kids and it was published in the newspaper. Santa Claus just evolved from there.
So to the Fish Sticks, St. Nick is real. He lived and he died (and my firstborn even told a stranger that when asked once if he was ready for Santa to come visit him). They know the rest of the story is pretend and just for fun. They are also warned not to share this bit of knowledge with their peers. I certainly don't want my kids to be the ones to burst the big Santa bubble of another kid with Mama Bear attacking me when all their Christmas dreams are shattered.
So Santa is truly on the back burner here. Jesus is the reason we celebrate and Santa Claus is just for pretend fun. After all, he did die in Turkey hundreds of years ago. Ask my firstborn. He'll tell you all about it.