By Rhonda Stoppe, Crosswalk.com
"Momma in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled down for a long winter's nap...When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter we sprang from our bed to see what was the matter...with a little ol' driver so lively and quick I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick."
Did anybody else memorize The Night Before Christmas when you were a kid? When I was five years old, I loved the magical story so much that I begged my mother to read it to me over and over until I had each page memorized.
When our own kids were old enough to know about Santa, my husband and I had to decide how we were going to approach the idea of believing in Santa.
After all, we both agreed we wanted our kids to know the true meaning of Christmas was to celebrate the wonder of the greatest gift God gave in the birth of His Son––our Savior.
We also agreed that lying to our kids would never be an option. We were convinced that if we were going to train our kids the value of always being truthful, no deception would be acceptable––even if it was in fun.
We talked with friends who were deeply convicted that anything having to do with acknowledging the fat little man in the red suit was wrong and must be avoided at all costs. In contrast, others took a more jovial approach to the story of Santa.
After prayerful consideration, my husband and I decided to "pretend" that Santa brought the treasures in our kid's stockings. (I wasn't willing to give Santa and his elves credit for any of the awesome gifts under the tree, but the stockings seemed to be a fun pretense.)
Leading up to Christmas, we would tell our children, "It's fun to pretend that Santa is really coming down our chimney to fill our stockings––even though we know that Santa is make-believe, reindeer can't really fly, and it's not really possible for anyone to come down a chimney."
On a side note, we did the same type of pretending when it came to the tooth fairy. My husband, Steve, always left fun notes from the tooth fairy under our children's pillow. He would include outlandish explanations as to why it took three nights (or sometimes more) to get to their pillow with the money for the tooth. Then Steve would go on and on in the note about what an incredibly strong, handsome, and wonderful father they had - you get the picture?
Our kids loved pretending, and they loved knowing that it was all in fun. On Christmas morning, the stockings were hung by the chimney with care. After they went along with the game of pretending the items in the stocking were from Santa, they would each thank Steve and me for the wonderful treasures.
We were careful to explain to our children that some parents wanted their kids to really believe in Santa because they thought it was a fun thing to do. However, we preferred to make the birth of Jesus the focus of Christmas––since that truly was the reason for the season.
And we helped our kids understand that it was not our job to tell kids that Santa was make-believe. I made sure my kids understood how sad the parents might be if we spoiled their fun of pretending by telling their kids there was not really a Santa Clause.
So, what about you? What should you do about this whole Santa thing? I can't really give you a specific answer except that lying to your kids is never a good idea.
You may want to tell your children the story of the real Saint Nick and how his generosity became so legendary that others embellished his story to what we now know as the story of Santa. It's a great history lesson and an opportunity to teach your kids how Satan often takes a small element of truth to twist it into a lie––to distract from God's true glory.
The Bible says, "If anyone lacks wisdom let Him ask of God." As with any parenting decision, seek the Lord for wisdom as to how you and your family should approach the great Santa dilemma. And seek out older godly women in your church to help you come to the best decision for your family. And most importantly, take time to read to your children the biblical account of the wonder of Christmas. Read with great awe and excitement how the angels proclaimed the Christ Child's birth to the shepherds.
Help your kids to realize that Mary, Joseph, and all of the people in the story were just that––people who God chose in history for that time. And just like those people;
It's not our time in history
for God to use us to proclaim that
Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World!
(In my book Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, you can read about Mary, the mother of Jesus––an ordinary woman that God used to accomplish extraordinary things in her generation through her humble, obedient life.)
And don't forget Christmas should be fun! So with all the great teaching opportunities this season, remember to make fun memories with your children this Christmas––you won't regret it!
Photo credit: ©CW YouTube