Here’s a little fruit from a conversation I had with my wife, Amy, this evening.
On our way out to look at Christmas lights with the kids we were discussing the subject of Santa Claus. More specifically, we were discussing the reasons why we don’t teach our kids (aged 4.5 and 3) about Santa. Now I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people, especially for Christians who do teach their kids about Santa Claus. I know I’m going out on a limb here, risking sounding like a right-wing legalistic fanatic nut-job, but I think there are some reasons to seriously reconsider this practice.
The first reason is the main reason I have maintained in avoiding this holiday tradition. It is the issue of truthfulness. I think it is a very fundamental problem to teach children something that isn’t true. Children should have no reason to doubt that everything their parents tell them is trustworthy. I’ve written on this subject before: that parents are to be worthy objects of trust because God is a worthy object of trust.
That may sound like nitpicking, but consider this: how do you explain to your children your grounds for not telling the truth. My guess is that most parents just avoid this question. Regrettably I think that this practice plants the seeds of the justifiable lie, also known as the “little white lie”. That’s a road I won’t go down with my kids, especially not for that sake of a cultural tradition.
Here’s another reason: As my wife simply put it, Santa Claus is an imaginary idol, given God-like attributes, and placed in front of Jesus on the occasion of observing His birth. I have to say that I balked at the “idol” tag, but when I considered it, I had to swallow it whole. This chubby dude is said to be omiscient, completely good and virtually omnipresent on the eve of his work. On an occasion when we should be ascribing these qualities of worth to God, they are redirected to an imaginary person. That’s the essence of idolatry, and that’s a real problem for me and my family.
And one more thing, Santa’s love is conditional. If you’re bad you get a lump of coal in your stocking. I’ll direct my worship to One whose love is unconditional:
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
Why would we waste any time on figments of imagination when we can devote our thoughts t a God who sent into the world a Savior like this? Toss the idols on the yule lag and drink your eggnog to the glory of the risen Christ, born into the world to be the Savior of men.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
A reason to celebrate, indeed!