By Zack DeBerry
My family is kind of into Christmas.
People think we are nutty sometimes when we tell them we put up eight Christmas trees. Yes, that was EIGHT, as in ocho or one less than a baseball starting lineup.
I love the Christmas season and all that comes with it. I love the music, the lights, the tacky sweaters, the red cup at Starbucks, the crazy shopping malls, but most of all I love that it feels different. It is different than other time of the year and that’s because of the excitement & anticipation that comes with it.
As excited as I am about Christmas people are always surprised when I tell them that we don’t really do Santa at our house. It’s not that we think it’s lying to our kids or anything like that. It’s just that we never really did it and our kids don’t seem to concerned with it.
I read something a few years back about this topic and it basically said that as Christians living in the “Happy-Holiday-Supreme-Santa-Reigns” World we have three options in dealing with Santa:
You can Reject Santa.
You can Receive Santa.
You can Redeem the Idea of Santa.
There are many Christians who just take the reject Santa route and paint Santa as the bad guy in red who eats all your cookies and is on a mission to destroy Bethlehem and all that comes with it (including your crystal nativity). In my opinion, rejecting Santa is probably the hardest of these options to do because Santa is everywhere.
Read this next statement very carefully:
To reject Santa and teach that he is in some way bad or a misrepresentation of Christmas is to tell our kids that some of their friends are bad because they are hoping that Santa comes to their house and leaves them something awesome.
It is hard to reach people with the Gospel and to humbly point everyone to the absolute hope that was born to become our savior when we paint the majority of the world as bad or misguided because of how they view Santa.
The easy route is to jump right in with everyone else and simply receive the idea of Santa. To receive it means you just don’t really care one way or the other. Santa is not a bad guy and he just adds to the fun and excitement of Christmas. There is nothing really wrong with this position, but when I think about the idea of Santa, I feel that to simply receive it and follow the cultural trend is to miss some amazing teaching opportunities for our kids.
This is why in my family I have chosen the third option of trying to redeem the idea of Santa. When you take a look at the history of Santa and the true story there is some amazing things in there.
I tell my kids about how Santa was a real person name Saint Nicholas.
I tell my kids about how he paid the dowry for women to be set free from lives of slavery.
There are many great teaching moments that can be brought to life by talking about the man behind the idea of Santa. One of the best movies in our Christmas movie rotation is the VeggieTales Story of Saint Nicholas.
My kids love this movie and they love hearing about the real life Saint Nick. I think anytime we can use whats happening in the world to teach our kids truth is something to be treasured and Santa for us is one of those things.