The Christmas Showdown

For those of you who know me, it's probably not a shocker that I've never really been a big fan of "Santa". Yes, I realize Saint Nick was a great guy who helped others...yada, yada, yada. Lately I've been thinking more specifically about WHY it is "Santa" has always rubbed me the wrong way. Then the other day when a gentleman at the store said to my 5-yr.-old, "Have you been good this year? Santa's watching!", it became ridiculously clear to me.

The greatest part of Christmas is that baby Jesus was sent to earth as our Savior offering us the ultimate gift - salvation...regardless of "how good" or "how bad" we've been. His gift isn't dependent on how well-behaved you've been. It's a gift that is available to anyone who comes to the realization that we're sad, pathetic, soon-to-be-expiring beings without the light of Christ in our lives. We don't deserve a gift even remotely close to the one we celebrate at Christmas, but that's not the point. God sent his son as a gift to EVERYONE - good or bad. If the same logic was followed as with the "Santa" philosophy, well, let's just not go there because it'd be bad. REALLY bad, for all of us.

I guess my point is this, let's take a minute to analyze our culture instead of just lapping up the greedy consumerism our society has turned the Christmas celebration into. If you want to let your kids believe some overweight jolly man squeezes down a 10-12" chimney pipe to deliver presents, fine. But in all seriousness, the real question as a parent is how to treat the Santa myth with our kids. It is a very legitimate argument to say, "How can I tell my kids about a magical man at the North Pole they never see but who cares and brings gifts... then tell them that he doesn't exist... but that the other magical man in the sky they never see but who loves them and gives them gifts DOES exist". At our house we've never really played up the whole "Santa" thing...even though there's a certain Grandma {who-shall-remain-nameless-but-we-share-the-same-last-name} who frequently talks about Santa. There haven't been "From Santa" gifts under the tree, but we do have many of the Christmas books with stories about Santa that the kids enjoy hearing. Obviously, the last thing I want is for my kids to be "those kids" who ruin it for all the kids who DO think Christmas = Santa. But I do want to be very intentional about making sure my kids have learned about the origins of Christmas AND that they understand a way to show similar Christ-like love IS through thoughtful gift giving today.

So this Christmas, tell the story of Jesus. It's SO important and IS the real meaning of Christmas. Then try to find a tangible, practical way to be generous and help each other in Jesus' name. That's what Christmas is all about!

P.S. Santa, I don't hate you...really.


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