I do not now, nor have I ever, taught my children that there is a Santa Claus. Gasp! Hiss! Booooo!! I know, there are people that think that is so sad and a few think that that is horrible. Oh well. So why don’t I teach my children about jolly Saint Nick you might ask, well let me explain.
It is lying. That is true, and that is part of it. I would say, though, that the lying aspect, for me, is only a small part of it. The main reason is that Santa does obstruct the real reason for the season. That is so cliche, but it is the truth. I say that, though, in a way that you might not be thinking.
Most people, when they say “remember the reason for the season,” mean that the commercialism that we see around the Holiday season has pushed Christ from the center of the yard to the periphery in people’s Christmas displays. This is true, and in part it is what I mean when I say that Santa obstructs the true meaning of Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Christ during the Christmas season. The reason for Christ’s birth is that we are sinners and needed a Savior, and so Jesus came to be that Savior. This is the Gospel, the true meaning of Christmas, and Santa obstructs this message in more ways than in your neighbor’s lights display and in the aisles of Wal-mart.
Santa is the Omnipresent Moralist. He has an information-gathering network that the big wigs of NSA and the CIA can only dream about. He knows when you are sleeping; he knows when you’re awake; he knows if you’ve been bad or good. Yikes! Here is where he begins to blur Biblical teaching. Santa has two lists, and you’re on one or the other. He is somehow able to know all your actions, and is able to make a judgment call on them. So little boys and girls are instructed to be nice because Santa is watching. The nice and naughty teaches that you can be good or bad, whichever you chose. This is moralism and it is damning. The truth is that there are two lists, but there is only one name on the nice, and that name is Jesus. Everyone else in humanity is on the naughty and my name is at the top. We are sinners, irredeemable by our own merit; we are bad at the core of our being. We do not seek the light John 3:19; our good is filthy Isaiah 64:6; we are the complete opposite of good Romans 7:14. In other words, you ain’t getting off the naughty list, Jack, and that’s a fact.
Santa’s Got No Grace. With Santa there is no room for forgiveness, love, mercy, or grace. If you’re naughty you get punished by not receiving any gifts. Now think about the Gospel. God gives his greatest gift not to those who deserve it, but to those who are “naughty.” That gift was his Son (who was the only “nice” one) and He came as a sacrifice for us that we might be saved. This, my friends, is the true reason for the season.
So, instead of teaching my kids about a omnipresent moralist who really doesn’t care about them (because they are naughty) and only punishes and never helps, I think I will teach them about the compassionate Savior. The one who knows all about their naughtiness but still loves them, and gave the greatest gift of all that they might receive grace and forgiveness through Christ.
This is my thoughts on the matter. What do you think? Do you teach your kids about Santa? Why or why not? Comments welcome.