We are on the eve of the Christmas celebrations and the department stores are getting decked out with dazzling Christmas trees, extravagant decorations and delightful holiday music. And many of them are setting a spot for that jolly character in red that will invite kids by the dozens to sit on his knee. They tell him what they want for Christmas and he’ll make promises that are impossible to keep. Stores encourage the persona of Santa Claus because he brings seasonal business.
But as adults, we all know that Santa Claus is an imaginary character portrayed by thousands of men in red costumes that don the holiday celebrations and bring a lot of bubbly joy and the hope of presents to children. Santa is the center of the secular Christmas and he has become the renowned maskot of the holiday.
Parents accept and encourage their children to sit on Santa’s knee, and to write letters to him and even to pray and ask Santa to grant them their Christmas wishes. It has become the norm, the thing that makes Christmas special, and Santa is the one that kids wait for. Why? Because they really believe that he is real.
So, is there a problem with this? Yes, because parents are teaching their children a lie!
They may think it’s okay because their children are small, but they won’t stay small forever. They will grow up and they will learn the truth – and often to their detrement. When children find out from their friends that Santa is not real, they can be devestated. Why? Partly because their hero is a fake, but mostly because their parents have lied to them.
Children are precious, innocent and vulnerable, and they trust those they love. Lies are a dangerous characteristic in parents and it can destroy the heart of children. How can a child continue to trust a parent who has lied to them year after year about Santa? They grow up and begin to wonder what else their parents have lied about, and just how much their parents can be trusted. Maybe the only ones they will want to trust are the ones we fear the most.
Christian parents have the responsibility of teaching their children the truth about Jesus and encouraging them to trust God who is real, but how will the children know that the parents aren’t just telling another lie? After all, you can’t even see God.
Santa may be a jolly myth that makes us laugh at Christmas, but we must be careful that we don’t allow this worldly character to steal the glory from the Lord at Christmas. And we must ensure that we don’t give Santa the authority to crush the faith of our children and rob them from the truth. Santa is not a magical character who brings presents to the children and fills their stockings on Christmas Eve. So, why do we teach them this?
If our children can’t trust us, their parents – people they can see and touch – how can we ever convince them to trust Jesus who they can’t see?
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”…….Proverbs 22:6