I grew up believing in the magic of Santa Clause. Seeing the empty plate of cookies on Christmas morning sent my mind spinning. Finding gifts wrapped and tagged with ‘from Santa’ was like a treasure hunt. But then I got older and found my parents finishing up Santa’s “magic” one Christmas morning. For years after that I continued to receive gifts from ‘Santa.’ I thought it was silly. It wasn’t fun anymore, either.
I grew up hearing all about the “true meaning of Christmas.” Church always talked about it and then my mom liked to read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve – right before setting out a plate of cookies for, um, a figment of our imaginations (who was entirely to real for my younger brothers).
The message is confusing.
Let’s write letters to Santa Clause and ask him to bring you everything you want! But remember, Jesus is why we celebrate!
Oh wow! Look at all the gifts Santa brought you! But remember, it’s about Baby Jesus.
As a kid what were you more concerned with? Santa or Jesus? I can tell you I was always more concerned with getting the goods from Santa. Or from my parents. Or from whoever else would buy me something. Anything. Me-me-me. Want-want-want. I-I-I. Jesus was secondary. A cute little baby in the pretty manger scene set we put up every year.
This mentality continues to be a struggle for me. I find myself getting excited about how many presents will appear under the tree for the kids. (And this year we do have some big ones.) And, true to form, I’m slightly concerned about which gifts will have my name on them. It seems to be trending to “buy less” for Christmas. I don’t like trends all that much. Especially when I have followed this particular trend for the past 6 years because I simply couldn’t afford otherwise. But it’s not a bad trend to have going around. Perhaps we will join in next year.
Through teaching my kids I am learning that we give gifts to each other because we love each other. A gift out of obligation or anything other than love shouldn’t be given. That’s not the point. The point is that God gave me a gift. He wasn’t obligated. I haven’t done anything to earn it, either. He gave it to me anyways. Because he loves me.
God should be the hero for this holiday instead of something someone made up somewhere. Wouldn’t the injustice just piss you off if you were God? He gives us the greatest gift we could ever receive and in turn we worship a story book character. Yes, worship. When our kids sit on Santa’s lap to ask for their presents, we are putting Santa above God. When we help our kids write letters to Santa, we are putting Santa above God. When we are laying out cookies on Christmas Eve, well…
We can’t have two gods. We can’t celebrate one story without taking away from the other. Setting out Santa cookies then reading the Christmas story is a confusing message for our kids.
Last night Mr. Sexy and Michael had a talk about Santa. Apparently the Others use Santa (and their religion but thats not for today) as a scary, manipulative tool. They threaten Michael: “If you don’t behave, we will write Santa a letter telling him not to bring you any presents.” (Disclaimer: We haven’t entertained the idea of Santa being real at our house for the past three years so this conversation isn’t abnormal.) Michael was upset about being lied to about the whole thing. Whatever. He’ll get over it.
But then a half hour went by and Michael blurted out, “Jesus is NOT a lie!” It was as if he had to make sure that yet another truth wasn’t being broken. He was reassured, of course, that Jesus is definitely real.
Can you see where I’m coming from? I’ve just got an issue with Santa and the pedestal society puts him on. Christmas isn’t about him. It’s about God and His free gift to us. We can be naughty and He will still give us salvation! Isn’t that just amazing? Why do we have the need to take away from that and focus on the imaginary?
Now, if you are someone who does all the Santa stuff I am not meaning any offense. Santa is very fun and I get that. All my kids have sat on his lap and cried the whole time too! For many, Santa is part of tradition. I get that too. I have a santa wall decoration hanging in our living room. Santa does have benefits. And for those who don’t know Jesus, Santa might be a good place to turn to. All this to say, my convictions don’t have to belong to anybody else. I’m not the first person to have these ideas. It’s just the first time for me, that’s all.
This year we are not visiting Santa. Santa won’t be visiting us. We get to eat ALL our Christmas cookies! We will continue with our traditions of stocking stuffers and the tree – even though I don’t know exactly why those traditions exist. We are also going to try mixing in some new ways with the old ways. For instance, after we read the Christmas story, we will act it out. We have also started this new thing where the kids buy each other gifts AND buy Mr. Sexy and I gifts. Simply because they love us. Like Jesus loves them.
Isn’t the point of Christmas to love each other like God loves us?
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