Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Santa and Christmas

Since we're now approaching the "parenting years," there's a whole new slew of questions for Joe and I to answer. Pertaining to Christmas (which is fast approaching) is the question, Will we introduce the idea of Santa Clause to our children?

Our decision has been no. We aren't going to actively introduce (or promote) the idea of Santa to our children nor will we join the camp of anti-Santa activists either. After reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper made some points that were quite interesting on the subject of Santa, Christmas, and children.

She listed some reasons the Piper family chose not to include Santa in their Christmas stories and decorations:

"First, fairy tales are fun, but we don't ask our children to believe them."

"Second, celebrating with Santa and manger will postpone a child's clear understanding of what the real truth of God is."

Noel expounds on her second point by saying, "It's very difficult for a young child to pick through a marble cake of part truth and part imagination to find the crumbs of reality. We want our children to understand God as fully as they're able, at whatever age they are. So we try to avoid anything that would inhibit or distort that understanding."

"Third, think how confusing it must be to a literal-thinking, uncritical preschooler. Santa is so much like what we're trying all year to teach our children about God. Look at the "attributes" of Santa:
  • He's omniscient--he sees everything you do.
  • He rewards you if you're good.
  • He's omnipresent--at least, he can be everywhere in one night.
  • He gives you good gifts.
  • He's the most famous "old man in the sky" figure.
Noel goes on to say that there is a deeper level that young children can't yet comprehend that Santa is not at all like God, most importantly that God gave the gift of His Son when we weren't good at all (Ro. 5:8). "He gave his gift to us to make us good, not because we had proved ourselves good enough."

It makes sense to me. Why, when we're trying to teach our children who God is and His purpose for sending Jesus, mix it with folklore when we should be feeding them the truth?

Do I think introducing Santa in children will inhibit them from knowing God? No. But it could inhibit them from knowing and understanding God in a meaningful way from an early age. Isn't that, as Christian parents, what we want for our children?

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