It’s that time of year again, and I KNOW I have many family members, who love me dearly, and yet cringe when I wipe off the soap box to discuss pagan holiday roots and our beliefs (or lack thereof) surrounding Christmas.
For the most part, I really do try to embrace the “Holiday Cheer”. I like the lights, I like the parties, I like the carols, I even share “Miracle on 34th Street” as my favorite Christmas movie. I like to gather on Christmas Eve, and while Jesus was not born on December 25th, nor did He ever suggest that we should celebrate His birth, I do enjoy the traditions that come along with this modern holiday. However, it’s become apparent, as my children are ages 5 & 3, that I need to be extremely clear about something.
I won’t be teaching my child to lie in order to maintain a tradition of falsehood.
This is not the space where I will be sharing the origins of Christmas or Santa Claus. If you are interested in delving into the history of Santa, feel free to check out this blog or this great video on why Santa is detrimental to Christian theology.
This commentary is more simply, both a warning and a response to those who will be interacting with my children. I believed in Santa Claus growing up, and I loved the whimsy that went along with it. My dad went all out. Elves took all my toys one year when I didn’t put them away. For Christmas, a few months later, I received the confiscated toys, under the tree, with the stipulation from Santa that I listen to my parents and learn to put my toys away. I also wrote lots of letters to Santa and I would get hand written responses back on paper with the edges burnt from coming through the chimney. I used to donate money for the poor and ask that Santa get gifts for those who were less fortunate. Santa and I were buds.
It was beautiful, it was fun, but it was a lie. And I know that sounds harsh, but I have to wonder, what if my father had taught me to write letters to the God of the universe? What if instead of a man with a white beard who judged whether I was naughty or nice, I learned to look to the One who loves me regardless of my actions, and promises to create in me a clean heart and renew my spirit? What if my energy, even as a child, was directed toward the magic that ALREADY exists through the Only True God, and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son? And while my faith today is built on a firm foundation, what if, by chance, the synapses in my brain that were connected to my belief in God, were strained when I discovered Santa Claus was a made-up part of my childhood?
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,Proverbs 12:22
But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
I love my dad, and I credit him for much of the truth I have received and the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from those who have gone before us. As Maya Angelou said,
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”Maya Angelou
From the moment my children were in the womb, I have been praying over them. I have been asking God to help me raise them to be warriors for truth, love and peace. I have been praying for them to have power and light, and one of the areas that is crucial to their growth in this direction, is honesty. Therefore, I cannot ask them to lie to other children. I plan to explain the story of Santa Claus. I plan to share the traditions and the history and yet, as we watch “Elf” and sing songs about “Santa Claus coming to town”, they will be taught to understand those pieces of art, as part of our culture, but not part of our belief system. Of course, I will and do explain to my children that some parents feign the story of Santa being real and some parents impersonate the fictional character by putting gifts from him under their tree. However, I cannot ask my children to also participate in this game of pretend. They are too young to play a part in this confusing role, and it is far too difficult to teach them at ages 3 & 5 that there are some scenarios in which we are honest and truthful and others when we are not. I am teaching my children to speak truth, even when it’s hard. I am teaching my children to be bold. My children will not be taught to pretend the emperor is wearing clothes…when in fact, the emperor is naked.
Therefore, my children are now officially at the age where they may ruin the carefully, sincerely and yet, falsely constructed tale, you have spun.
So, my public response: Sorry, I’m not sorry.
Then you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.John 8:32
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness…Ephesians 6:14