Growing up, my parents didn't teach me and my sisters about Santa Claus. Sure, we were allowed to watch the classic "Rudolph" each year and sing "Here Comes Santa Claus" but we were taught at an early age that a big jolly man in a red suit does not enter our house each Christmas and leave gifts for us. We didn't put out milk and cookies or carrots for the reindeer. There wasn't the belief that we were seen while we were sleeping and watched while we were awake by a man in the North Pole who has the power to leave us presents or coal, depending on how good we were. Please do not misunderstand me. I'm not throwing stones; only sharing with you how I was raised. And in my raising, I learned some wonderful lessons. Christmas was more about family and celebrating Jesus' birth. There was no "here's the story of Jesus....now let's get ready for Santa!" It was just...all about Jesus. Now, I am not saying that if you raise your children to believe in Santa Claus, that you are doing a wrong thing. I am only sharing with you a conviction of ours and reasons behind this conviction. We are all accountable to God by how we raise our children. This is how we are raising ours.
My little boy is an avid lover of Veggie Tales and in purchasing their video "Saint Nicolas: A Story of Giving" I was very skeptical and curious. To my delight, the Veggies did a pretty decent job of telling the true story of Nicholas, yet making it all about Jesus. So can they co-exist? I suppose they can. But I also think it is very, very, very important to tell our children the truth and to, above all, keep their focus on Christ and the beautiful gospel story. God's Word says that Jesus is the truth (John 14:6) and His truth will make us free (John 8:32). For us, we will tell our children the truth and also use that opportunity to share the gospel with them. For instance...
- There is no Santa Claus watching our every move. There is, however, a holy God who holds the universe together (Colossians 1:17) and who sees even the smallest sparrow fall (Matthew 10:29).
- Being "good" all year does not mean we deserve gifts at Christmastime. According to Romans 3:10, there is "none good; no not one." We should teach our children that our good works are not deserving of presents and blessings. Only through His blood and His salvation are we given "every good and perfect gift" (James 1:17), and "all spiritual blessings" (Ephesians 1:3).
- We do not celebrate Christmas with a bearded man, flying reindeer, and lots of elves. We celebrate Christmas as the moment in time when God looked down and saw us destitute and in need, and became one of us so that we might be saved! And because of that great miracle, we, like the shepherds, should glorify and praise God for His unspeakable gift! That is far more exciting and joyous than North Pole fun.
- Christmas is not about getting. It is about the joy of giving. We give because God "so loved" that "He gave." Being His children and His people, we should follow the example of our God by loving and giving just as He did. It's important to teach children to give.... and WHY we give. Instead of spending half the year making a list of all the things they want, we should teach them to make a list of ways they can give and be a blessing to others.
My parents received lots of flack for not "doing" Santa for me and my sisters and already my husband and I are beginning to hear little negative comments on our decision to raise our children with the truth. That's not to say we don't enjoy watching "Polar Express" and other Christmas movies that are about jolly old St. Nick. But it's all fun and it is - and always will be - made known that it is only fun and make believe. There is no "magic"...but there IS power and glory which comes straight from heaven through Jesus Christ and the truth of the blessed and wonderful Christmas story.