Now that Thanksgiving is over the Christmas season has officially begun! I’m proud to say that this year I managed to hold off listening to any and all Christmas music until now, and I successfully avoided the Black Friday madness once again. Although I admit that the latter didn’t take much convincing. On Thanksgiving Day Ike and I were driving to my grandmother’s when we heard a commercial belittling other store sales that waited “as long as 7am to open.” This particular store, on the other hand, proudly opened at 4am! Seriously?!? This has gotten out of control!
The Christmas season has also launched me and Ike into a debate about whether or not to tell our future kids that there’s a Santa Claus. When I was little and discovered that my parents had been lying to me my ENTIRE LIFE about Santa Claus, I felt very much betrayed, so I’m having some serious misgivings about doing the same to my kids. Not to mention the fact that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa. Ike, on the other hand, doesn’t feel so strongly about Santa, and wonders how it will work out practically speaking when other kids are talking about Santa and our kids are the party poopers who burst their bubble. I guess we’ve got time to figure this stuff out, but let me know if you have any insights.
There is a lot of craziness that surrounds Christmas and it’s largely a distraction, but I wanted to share with you one thought as we enter into this season. Since I lost my grandfather 2 weeks ago, I’ve found it really difficult to listen to Christmas music. He loved Christmas music more than anyone I know, so it’s been hard for me to listen to it without crying. My heart aches inside every time, which makes me even more sad because I love Christmas music so much myself.
I imagine Christmas is like that for a lot of people. While it’s a time to rejoice, we’re also reminded of loved ones who are no longer celebrating with us. It can be very bittersweet.
The one thing that has comforted me during this time is to focus on why it is we observe Christmas; just what it is we’re anticipating. Hope. While I miss my grandfather so much and our traditions will now be tinged with sadness as he is no longer with us, I’m simultaneously reminded that the reason we celebrate Christmas at all is because of the hope we have in God’s redeeming work through Christ. This little baby would one day die and rise again so that we no longer have to despair or mourn. And this little baby also reminds us that those who have gone before us are singing songs to their Savior which make Handel’s Messiah pale in comparison.
So if you’re like me and you’re missing someone right now during this joyful season, I want you to know that you’re not alone, but I also encourage you to take heart. The reason we celebrate is because we have hope. God has come near, and death is not the end of the story. That is why we sing!
I grew up in a home where I was never told about Santa. Christmas was always about Christ, serving others, and spending time together as a family. Looking back I am SO thankful to my parents that they did this. It left no question in our minds what Christmas was about – our Savior’s birth – not some cheery fat guy in a red suit.
We have two children, 3 1/2 and 20 months and have chosen not to teach them about Santa. My older boy knows who Santa is because of our in-laws and the commercial aspect of Santa but they think of him like any other character (i.e., Dora, Mickey Mouse, etc.) We cannot avoid Santa around Christmas but we choose not to tell them that Santa comes at night and brings them presents. The only time its a little weird is when people ask what Santa brought them for Christmas and they reply “nothing” and I get a funny look. But other than that, we’ve had no difficulties yet. I’m wondering when they start elementary school how things will be. For now, we want to teach them the true meaning of Christmas and not the “fairytale”. We also decided to do this because of the implications of lying about Santa but teaching the truth of Christ and how the “truth” becomes questioned when a parent lies about Santa.
I grew up in a home where my parents told us about Santa, that he was make-believe and that other children really believed in him and so we weren’t to go around telling other kids he’s not real. Their reasoning was if they lied to us about Santa, we might later think that God was make believe too. I think it’s ok for kids to know about Santa, but he shouldn’t be taught as real and all-knowing. A lot of kids think of him similar to God (he knows everything you say and do, has other powers). I think that’s really dangerous and it takes away from the glory of Christ which should be THE reason for the season. I won’t teach my own kids about Santa because Christmas is about Christ coming to earth to save sinners and I think it’s really important that we don’t lie to our kids about Santa like Heather mentioned in her comment.