The Santa Dilemma
Welcome if you are visiting from the Hearts at Home Third Thursday Blog Hop. This month’s topic One Perfect God got me thinking about the perfect Jesus and the jolly old elf Santa. Read on to see how the Santa dilemma went down at our house this year.
“Mom is Santa real?” my curious six-year-old asked as I tucked him in and kissed his cheek.
‘Here we go,’ I thought. I took a deep breath and went the history route as I did with his older brothers. Speaking truth, but leaving a little to the imagination.
“Well Lewis, there was a guy who lived a long time ago. He was called Saint Nicholas, and he was a very kind man who gave gifts to the poor and who loved children very much. His kindness is how the story of Santa Claus began.”
“Oh. I didn’t think he was real. Tomorrow I’m going to tell Michael that Santa is really Saint Nicholas, but now Santa is dead.”
Not exactly the response I was anticipating.
It is entirely possible he is at school right now dashing the hopes and dreams of his classmates. My genuine apologies to anyone affected. Feel free to tell your kids that Lewis has been misinformed. I’m pretty sure your child will believe you over their six-year-old classmate with a mohawk.
I have no problem with families who play the Santa game. Who create elaborate schemes to keep their kids believing in the jolly fat guy for years. I can see the fun in it. I just can’t do it. When my son asks me point blank, I can’t look him in the eye and tell him this guy actually exists.
Maybe it’s because I’m so terrible at bluffing. (I would never win at poker.)
Maybe it’s because I know one day Lewis will know the truth and he will wonder how many other things his mom lied to him about.
Maybe it’s because I’m selfish and want to sign my own name in the from spot on the gift tag. I don’t want to give some imaginary guy credit for those gifts I bought for Lewis to open on Christmas morning.
But mostly I want him to know that this holiday is not about a jolly fat elf. It’s about a Savior who came as a baby. Do I think parents can successfully teach kids the true meaning of Christmas and still let them believe in Santa? Of course I do. I have friends who have done it beautifully. But I can’t get the thought of Jesus and Santa playing tug-of-war in Lewis’ mind out of my head.
People may ba-humbug me. Or call me a party-pooper. Or think I’m ruining my son’s childhood or any other number of things. That’s okay. I realize I am in the minority here.
But as the day of Christ’s birth comes closer, I am more convinced of my choice. The season is still filled with wonder. What’s more fascinating than a stable-born baby who came to save the world?
It makes me smile to look at our nativity set on the hearth. My Santa disbeliever Lewis has full charge of that manger scene, complete with a broken sheep and a wise man with a cracked head. And he chose to put Jesus in the center and position every other piece in a half-circle facing the baby. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing way to arrange the display, but it is just as it should be.
Santa may be dead, but our perfect Savior is alive and well.
Though my Lewis will not be dreaming on Christmas Eve about the mythical guy who slips down the chimney and leaves shiny toys, he just might be falling asleep with visions of a tiny baby in a stable and angels singing to shepherds on a hillside. (Oh and somewhere in that dream sequence I’m sure he will be drooling over those brightly wrapped gifts mom and dad put under the tree.)
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
I’d love to hear how your family handles Santa Claus. I welcome other opinions. I just ask that you be kind about the way you state them.