Thoughts about Santa

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?”

I nodded.

“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?

Almost.

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?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

Santa Isn’t God–and God Isn’t Santa

I’m reasonably sure that everyone reading this post is old enough not to believe in Santa Claus anymore. Otherwise, feel free to think of me as the Grinch who stole Christmas.

Yes, I believed in Santa Claus when I was a kid. But my parents told me from early childhood on that Santa was love. That didn’t make sense at the time. I got quite upset the first time an older child told me that Santa wasn’t real. But I eventually accepted the truth and began to understand what my parents had told me.

When my daughter was young, her mother and I agreed to tell her that Santa was make-believe. And asked her not to tell the other kids since we didn’t want her to cause unnecessary disillusionment. We didn’t mind if she had fun pretending–as long as she knew the truth. The best I can recall, that worked well.

As a Christian, I love Christmas carols. But–as a general rule–I’m not fond of secular Christmas songs. After all, Christmas is all about Jesus’ birthday, even though He wasn’t actually born on December 25.

Most secular Christmas songs don’t offend me, however. I can tolerate “Frosty” and “Rudolph.”  “Jingle Bells.” And many others.

But this one is something else. It offends me horribly…

“You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out
Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

Since parents themselves are Santa, they find those words to be reasonably accurate. Most of the time, they know when their kids are misbehaving. And it’s to the parents’ advantage to convince their children that the quality of their gifts depends on their behavior.

But what about their kids? I wonder how many of them think Santa and God are the same–if they even know anything about God at all. After all, it’s more politically correct to believe in Santa nowadays.

Santa and God sound similar in several ways. God also knows when children have been naughty or nice. And since He never sleeps, He’s on top of their behavior even more than their parents are. And He’s the giver of good gifts–“every good and perfect gift,” to be precise.

Like Santa, God loves little children.

But He loves the rest of us, too.

And Santa didn’t send Jesus to earth to die for our sins. Nor does he adopt whoever comes to him through faith in Jesus as his children. Nor does he care about what’s best for us or provide gifts that aren’t dependent on good behavior.

And he certainly didn’t die on the cross to enable us receive forgiveness. Or to live the most meaningful earthly lives possible. And have eternal life in Heaven.

No, Santa’s not God, and God isn’t Santa. God is so much more. Isn’t it time to tell our children the truth?

If you want to say something about this post, please leave a comment.

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“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

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Best regards,
Roger