I hate this topic!
Do you hear me? I HATE this topic!
Yet, it’s worth addressing. I think. I hope. Please feel free to write many affirming, church-unifying comments at the end of this email to feed my fragile ego (kidding!... sort of) and reassure me that the Santa debate does not have to be divisive! We can all be friends!
Recently, a couple of Christian bloggers have raised the question: Santa or no Santa? I’d been asking the question myself for years, and now that Caroline is nearly four, we had to make a call.
We were torn. We wrestled. We avoided. We waffled. We finally decided... Santa will be a "pretend game that lots of people have fun with," according to our household. Please refrain from throwing tomatos. Hear me out.
It was just a family, personal choice. No, I’m not one of those people who think that “Santa” is one letter away from “Satan.” I don't claim that they wear the same red suit! If your family practices the Santa tradition, I think that’s fun!
So feel free to disagree with our family's stance. I highly doubt that God will choose whether we spend eternity in heaven or in hell based on how we handle the tradition of the jolly man with a jelly belly.
Here were our pros and cons.
|Amelia in fur last Christmas. (No, it was not cold in Uganda!)|
- It’s fun!
- My parents did it for us, and I loved the tradition until I was eight and a stinky kid spoiled it for me. I cried.
- Santa is a generous guy. I am still touched by the way my parents lavished us with gifts on Christmas, yet took no credit for it, all to make some magic for us. AND they somehow simultaneously taught us to NOT BE MATERIALISTIC. I am thankful to my parents for how they handled both Christmas, generosity, and their children's attitudes towards STUFF. It's a picture of God the Father, isn't it?
- The historic story of St. Nicholas is a great way to show the importance of caring for the poor, the needy, the children.
- I think C.S. Lewis once had some awesome quote about the positive effect of fairy tales on a child’s ability to develop faith. Or I could be totally wrong. Hmm… Anyway, fairy tales can be good.
- It *could* distract children from Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. (Let’s face it… the Santa tradition is so stinkin’ awesome, and so much more understandable to children than theology. Baby Jesus in a barn gets lost in the excitement of gifts headed "my" way through magic and flying reindeer.)
- It *could* contribute to selfishness and materialism… the constant, “What do you want for Christmas?” mentality. Children might learn that it's all about them, and about getting, rather than giving.
- Some say it’s lying to our children. I disagree. I could be wrong, but it just seems like a fun game.
- Some claim that when children find out that Santa isn’t real, they’ll wonder if God isn’t real, as well. I doubt this is often the case. I guess anything can happen, but I don't see this as a common issue. But hey, I can always be wrong.
Are we happy with our decision?
Yes and no. I love focusing solely on Jesus coming (and future coming) during Advent. But we've already had a big uh-oh moment...
|Caroline last year|