Merry Christmas! Kathleen and I don’t care if it’s “politically incorrect” to acknowledge that the birth of Jesus is the “reason for the season” and that His coming to earth in such a miraculous way was the most important birth to ever take place. When you look at Christmas that way, Santa Claus takes a very lowly second place in our thoughts…
Santa. Some guy who used to really exist. So they say, and I don’t doubt it.
Now he’s just thousands of mostly-nice old-looking guys with red suits, often-fake white beards, and big bellies that all too often in prosperous America may be real . Thousands of guys who occupy thrones of importance at the local mall where they cringe at the thought of one more kid asking them to make his parents quit fighting so much.
What harm is there in letting a little kid believe in Santa—until some older kid decides to have some fun and burst the other youngster’s bubble the way some other older kid had done to him a year or two earlier?
I remember having that happen to me. I didn’t believe it at first, of course. So I confronted my parents.
“We’ve always told you Santa Claus is love, haven’t we?”
“And we love you, don’t we?”
I nodded, although I felt more like crying. Or screaming. Who wants to learn that Santa is actually a kid’s own parents—and to learn the ugly truth from his parents? But I adjusted to the idea, and I got over it…eventually. It took a couple of Christmases, though, to confirm that the number of gifts wouldn’t decrease just because a real Santa wasn’t involved.
It would no longer be a problem after that. Right?
Years later, however, I became a father. And I faced the issue of what a conscientious parent should do about Santa Claus. Especially when the truth had proven so painful to that parent years earlier.
I’ll always be thankful that my first wife and I agreed. We would tell Kristi the truth (we wouldn’t disguise it by saying that Santa is love), but encourage her to pretend as much as she wanted to and to please not spoil it for other children who didn’t know the truth yet.
That seemed to work.
So why even think about it now? We don’t get to see our grandkids at Christmas, so what our children choose to do about Santa doesn’t really affect us. It’s not our business, thank goodness.
You know what, though? I cringe every time I hear “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Especially the lines “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake.” and “He knows if you’ve been bad or good…”
Encouraging children to be good is great. But implying that a complete stranger–a once-yearly visitor–has a year-round, God’s eye knowledge of their behavior? Parents understand that, but do little kids? I doubt it. If they did, they’d know who Santa really is.
It’s a wonder more children don’t grow up thinking that God is like Santa Claus—or that he IS Santa.
Sorry, folks. I can tolerate the exaggerations adults make to their children regarding Santa. As long as they don’t teach bad theology.
Am I just being a grumpy older man? How about leaving a comment and letting me know what you think?
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