Earlier this week a friend of mine brought up the issue of Santa Claus and his role in Christmas. After reading his thoughts on the matter, I responded and some feelings that I truly never knew existed, to such an extent anyway, began to well up in me. Now I realize that this could come across as quite legalistic or just downright anti–Christmas, but please hear me out. Again, for any first–time readers, I'm not some crotchety old man that hates anything fun and entertaining. Let's proceed.
Since I honestly have no recollection of whether or not I ever even believed in Santa as a child, I'll fast forward to much more recently when Santa started to really seem kind of hokey to me. I once knew a family that would go all out in order to drive home the idea that Santa did, in fact, exist. They'd leave half–eaten cookies, an empty glass of milk, fake footprints, the whole deal. I remember how I just quietly sat there thinking, "this is a bit ridiculous, don't you think?". I don't know, I guess it seems harmless enough, but I don't see why we have to conjure up some fake character for the sake of "fun", knowing full and well that we'll only have to disprove him years later. The bottom line is that it really is a lie. Even if you agree with nothing else that I'm saying (which is perfectly fine, by the way) you'd have to admit that it just isn't the truth.
Let me summarize my point by giving you this scenario. Many parents spend their efforts raising their children to believe in Santa, Easter bunnies, Tooth fairies and so on. Then, when the children reach whatever age the parents deem "old enough" they explain to them that these now fictional beings don't really exist. From a Christian household perspective, let's assume that they're also teaching Jesus as reality this entire time. "He is someone you can talk to and know personally", they say. In the midst of all of the clearing up of who's real and who's not, how do the children understand that all of the other characters are lies, but Jesus is real? If I told you 4 lies and then told you one truth, you would be much more prone to categorize me as untrustworthy, would you not? It's no wonder why so many kids grow up to think Jesus is a fairy tale too - just another story from their childhood.
So am I attempting to ruin your Christmas and convince you to throw out all of your decorations? Not at all. I simply want to cause you to do some thinking, some assessing of why we do the things that we do, often without even delving into the importance of it all. So you say that you're thinking about it now? Good. Merry CHRISTmas!
(thanks to Gadget for kicking off this train of thought)