The Case for Claus.

  

I know I’m most likely opening up for all kinds of interesting and critical comments, however, we’re talking “Santa” today and I would love to know your thoughts.

In the age of commercialism, parents continue to respond to the question, “Do we or don’t we participate in the Santa tradition?”  No matter how you answer this question, it seems that everyone has a passion-filled answer.  Those “for” Santa are often seen as lying to their children.  Those “against” Santa are often seen as depriving their children.   

So…let’s tackle this  (in a loving manner) and speak our hearts, sharing the decisions each of our families have made regarding the jolly old elf.

Santa’s history:

From what I understand, Santa arrived as a result of the legacy of Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Christian bishop in Turkey.  He was very rich and devoted his life to Christianity.  He was known for his missional acts of helping the impoverished, even going as far as donating dowries to three daughters so that they would not have to become prostitutes.  He also threw gifts through windows into homes of impoverished children. I read one site that said he spent his entire inheritance helping others in need.

Much information about Saint Nicholas is filled with legendary tales of good deeds done in the name of Christ, and seem overwhelmingly to sustain a reputation of goodness and Christ-like behavior.

Although his image and characteristics have evolved into the red coated, white haired, slightly overweight, and infectiously happy old elf, the continuous reputation for goodness seems to have not faltered through the years.

My position:

As an adult who grew up in the Santa culture, it was never a question whether I would pass along this tradition to my children.  Many, many fond memories flood my mind when I think back on past Christmas mornings. 

I remember waking up to find my stocking filled, a few gifts, and the feeling of love, warmth and surprise all at once as I curiously sifted through my Christmas goodies.  We didn’t always receive alot, but it was enough to know that it was a special day, and that “someone” cared enough to secretly deliver gifts. 

I know there are instances where children were really devastated to learn the truth of Santa’s legend, but honestly I don’t even recall my parents telling me.  I have good memories of Christmases as a child receiving the affections of Santa, and then my memory skips to good memories of Christmases with the knowledge that came after. 

Both ways, I just have good memories of Christmas.

My parents did not particularly place extraordinary attention on the real meaning of Christmas in my younger years.  We went to church, regularly worshipped and proclaimed Jesus as Lord, however, I don’t have memories of consistent focus on the message of the first Christmas.  That could be due to the fact that my father wasn’t a practicing Christian during my childhood.  Thankfully, my mother continued to raise me in the church and affirmed the necessity of faith in God.

So…when I became a parent I made two choices:  1) to continue the participation of my children in the Santa legend, but 2) to focus Santa’s efforts and gifts toward Christ, rather than away from it. 

We chose to continue Saint Nicholas’ drive to show others that Christ can love through him (and us).  Just as we are to provide for the impoverished at Christmas time and all through the year, we use Christmas time to show our children that a special effort can be made to show someone you love them. 

Our “Santa” lives on in the spirit of the acts of Saint Nicholas and through the commands of God to live as Christ lived. 

Our “Santa” knows who is on the nice and naughty list because Jesus tells him, not because Santa has a magical all-knowing power.

Our “Santa’s” mission is to spread love and goodness to all the world each Christmas Eve, and then strive to continue those same traits through the year.

Our “Santa” prays at the cross.

Is it a lie?  I don’t believe so.  Saint Nicholas lives on in the hearts of Christians all over the world who want to please God.  Our participation in this traditional act provides fun, a little mystery, and excitement at an already wonderful time of year.  Our grown children seem to have enjoyed it, and exhibit some of the lessons we learned through Christmas’ past.

I’ve seen the older girls be especially concerned for others at Christmas time, participate in food drives and Angel Tree efforts.  There’s been much discussion about the gratitude and contentment for the awareness of blessings God has provided our family.  Although the two girls now don’t believe “Santa” is still living and breathing in bodily form, they understand that his acts were commendable.

Christ’s position:

WWJD?  What would Jesus do to end this debate?  Honestly, I don’t know.  Each one of us must choose the path we feel like our family is to follow.  In my feeble mind, as long as the path begins, follows, and ends with Jesus, it’s the right path.  If Santa, in all his goodness, and through all the television commercials, mall pictures, and parades, becomes anything more than a servant of God, it is the wrong path. 

Only Jesus is the true giver of gifts worthy of receiving.  Our material things, clothing, housing, food, and yes….even our toys are blessings from the Lord.  May we all remember to never take them for granted. 

God be glorified through you, a disciple of Christ, whose mission is to spread the gospel of Christ, the good news of salvation through Him, and in a manner that provides for those less fortunate at Christmas time and all throughout the year!

Spread the Love of the Lord in your stockings, through your yard decorations, in your checkbook, and beneath the bows of your Christmas tree.   After all… the first six letters are what’s it’s all about.

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11 Comments

Filed under Children, Christ, Christmas, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Gifts, God, Joy, Santa Claus

11 responses to “The Case for Claus.

  1. Julie…if you really want to know the meaning of Christmas, I’ll tell you with the ABCs

  2. Santa’s not real?!?! {Gasp!}

  3. Seriously though…as a daughter of Julie Black, we grew up doing the whole Santa thing…and I was shocked at the discovery that Santa wasn’t really the person that brought us toys and ate the cookies… However, the focus of our family’s Christmas was never on the fact that Santa was coming (although that was exciting), it was all about worshipping Jesus Christ who came that blessed Christmas to save us all. I personally have been questioning whether or not I will do the Santa thing with my children…and I still haven’t really decided. I feel that if you as a parent model what Christmas is all about in your actions, words, and everyday life…then the true message is being sent to your children Santa or not. St. Nicholas WAS a real person and it is ok to pass on the ideals and generosity that he bestowed long ago. When I become a parent, my prayer is that no matter what traditions my husband and I choose…my children will see Christ in me and Christ in Christmas and ultimately come to follow Him.

  4. Mike

    All I can say is BAH HUMBUG!!!!!……………………

    Just kidding, again, really I am.

    I can only echo what Kenya wrote. Christmas should be a year round event lived out in the lives of those that claim Christ as Lord. Our only thought and motivation in all that we do as Christians is, will this glorify God. Good post!!

  5. Hey Julie, I found You!!! LOL!!!
    love your blog! I love christmas!!!! this is my favorite time of year!!!! I love watching the gleam in a child’s eye!

  6. Kari

    This is so neat! I was just talking with some co-workers yesterday and this subject came up. She was saying that she had received some criticism from church members for playing Santa Claus for her little girl. Needless to say I printed this off and gave it to her to read. I agree completely with you and we plan on “playing” Santa Claus for Julia.

  7. WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!! Good Post!! I totally agree with you! Oh yeah, by the way, Thanks for the phone call during DWTS!!

  8. We always celebrated Christmas. I usually only got one big Christmas gift from “Santa”. Most of it was celebrated with the reading of Luke 1 & 2. Mostly Christmas while I was growing up was with family (driving 10 hours to get there). 🙂 I think that it is a personal call, but it is the spirit of giving (God giving us is Son) that should be remembered.
    Just my two cents! Hope your Thanksgiving was special.

  9. Christmas was always a very special time of year when I was growing up, and though we did the Santa thing Jesus was always the focus of christmas for me.

    I would sit for hours at night listening to Christmas carols and wonder what it must have been like the night Jesus was born. I wondered how Mary must have felt when there was no room at the Inn, being taken to the stable where she gave birth to a tiny son.
    The awe the shepherds must have felt when the angels appeared that night, announcing the birth of the Messiah and singing praises to the newborn King…
    And the wise men who traveled from afar, crossing deserts and mountains as they followed the star, seeking to pay homage to the One who was born King of the Jews.

    Jesus was always very real to me and precious, He far outweighed Santa Claus, (though who wasn’t excited as a child on Christmas Eve, wondering what would be in our stockings and around the tree in the morning?) I don’t even remember when I found out there wasn’t a santa so it obviously didn’t have much of an effect!

    But after we married we got involved in a church that didn’t celebrate Christmas because it was a pagan holiday turned into a christian one etc.
    I was always so sad for our children, and rejoiced when we left that church and could celebrate christmas again. We never told the kids Santa was real, but they wanted to believe and pretend anyway, so I’d mark a couple of their presents from him.

    It’s all about what’s in our hearts and the spirit in which we celebrate any holiday, don’t you think? Keeping Christ as the center then family, and after that it’s just fun and icing on the cake so to speak. 🙂

    It’s been hard the last few years to not be able to buy the family presents because I love giving them!!! 😦 But hopefully one of these days if the Lord wills, we will be able to again.

    I pray y’all have a wonderful and blessed time together this chrismas!

    Much love to you Julie, and to your family in Jesus Christ our Saviour and King!

    Susan

  10. Both my hubby and I had Santa but we have not played it up with our own children. We talk a lot about St. Nicholas adn the meanings behind what we do today..evergreen tree, colors, candy cane, lights on the tree, etc. Grandma and Grandpa send presents from Santa and we just leave it alone. We watch both Christian and Santa movies.

  11. CW

    I happened to come across this blog when doing a search on building distance between Santa/reindeer and the birth of Jesus (ie: commercial versus sacred). I’m a divorced Christian father with a son that will be experiencing the first of many (Lord willing) Christmas times together, where he’ll actually be able to remember and hopefully appreciate tradition. My son’s mother and I are seeking healthy ways to establish said family time, to promote unity but leave room for creative differences. Otherwise (we’ve been told), we run the risk of burning our son out on twice the amount of exact offerings. I’ve prayed for God’s direction with respect to how I can appropriately introduce my son to Jesus. Perhaps His answer lies in your blog. I don’t know at this point that I can rule out that possibility. Thanks for sharing and may God continue to bless you so that you may be a gift to others.

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