Annually in December, the war on Xmas, the defamation of Santa and the general degradation of Christian dialogue begins on the twitter and the facebook. Blog posts are published, young (new) believers are educated, and many people are challenged to think about the why of some of their traditions.
This is not a bad thing. New believers who are
often weaker have a chance to grow as the result of the discourse. Mature believers are provided an opportunity to learn exercise patience and acquire exhibit rationality.
I want to clarify my stance re: Santa. Although I personally do not celebrate the Santa thing, I am not so blinded by my preference that I do not realize that a Christian family, can do the Santa thing, if they wish – edification value notwithstanding.
But, in order to get around the problem that it is nearly impossible to do Santa as he is commonly practiced without actually telling a lie, it seems to me that people would have to concede that Santa is similar to The Incredible Hulk or Spiderman in the sense that everyone knows he doesn’t really exist, but we still enjoy the story.
So if you read or hear an anti-Santa sentiment, and your response is “he’s no different from anything else in the world in which I can enjoy with thanksgiving in my Christian liberty,” I want to caution you that there are versions of the practice of Santa which I do, in fact, believe are evil.
Here is the litmus test, in my opinion. If you expect everyone else who comes into contact with your children to perpetuate the story that he really does the things the legend would say he does, then I think you are on shaky ground. So if your inquisitive child goes to church tonight (it is Wednesday), and s/he asks the teacher if Santa is REAL and you expect the teacher to say yes or even give some other answer which leaves the truth hidden, then I believe you are sinning. You are asking/expecting a brother or sister to lie, or at the very least violate their own conscience. This is not fair to your brother who is trying not to lie and to tell the truth at all times, including removing lies of omission from his new life in Christ.
If your child directly asks you about Santa, or hears the truth from someone else and you continue to maintain the story that Santa is real – then you’ve called the other person a liar.
Just as if your child asked me if Buddha was worth following or the god of Islam was real or if we really should pray to Mary – I would expect to tell the truth to them in each situation – I also would with Santa. If someone has a problem with me because I told the truth, I reckon I’ll be 100% OK with that – within obvious guidelines of what would be age appropriate. To ask me or another brother to simply “not answer” is illogical. Why should those of us who aren’t part of the deception have to be quiet? That would be as valid as me telling you, “Don’t tell your children about Santa.”
Look, I’m a good Calvinist and I understand that teaching kids about Santa will not make the final difference in whether or not God sovereignly saves them by His effectual grace. But the fact remains that if your child actually feels deceived by you about Santa, that can
will have a lasting effect on your relationship. Not a risk I want to take.
I appreciate the wealth of information the internet offers and there are a lot of good people writing about the topic from different perspectives.
So decorate a tree and leave out milk and cookies and make it fun, if you want. Dress like a puritan and sit in a cold house and read Habakkuk if that’s your thing. Take pictures with men in red suits (*I did). I frankly don’t care if you pretend Aquaman brought gifts or Santa or if you simply give your kids gifts. I’d recommend reviewing the real story of St. Nick, if you could. But be careful the message that your child is getting, especially the Santa information which does not come from you.
Finally – here is a post I wrote several years ago concerning the topic. It was actually a letter I wrote to a specific brother who I didn’t know very well. Click Here. It will open in a new tab.
For the record, this particular friend of mine heeded my advice and wrote me back and was very grateful to me for writing him. It wasn’t a matter of conscience to him, he believed what he was doing was error and was glad to correct it!