Today is Christmas Eve!
In 1897, The New York Sun published an editorial in response to 8 year old Virginia’s question, “Is there a Santa?”. The editorial, “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa” has become famous and has led to the publication of children’s books and movies.
It is too bad that when Virginia first asked her father that question, he did not take the high road and tell her the truth. Instead of answering her, Virginia’s father passed the proverbial buck and told her to write a letter to The New York Sun having told her “that if you see it in the Sun, it is so”. (and we all know how truthful and accurate newspaper reports are! [ heavy sarcasm heavily intended])
Rather than be shown for the untruth that is it, that editorial has perpetuated the lie that continues to be upheld even in this cynical, atheistic, technologically advanced society.
When we tell our children that Santa (Easter Bunny, etc.) is real, we are LYING! God has some pretty strong words to say about lying and liars:
Pro 19:9 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and one speaking lies shall perish.
Joh 8:44 You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not abide in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.
Lying comes from the devil!
While it may be understandable that non-Christians continue to spout the myth of Santa Claus, I find it disturbing that Christians willingly uphold and encourage their children to believe in Santa. After all, Christmas is supposed to be a Christian holiday – you know – ‘CHRIST’mas – Christ being the “reason for the season”!
God gave us the following commands:
Exo 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me.
Exo 20:4 You shall not make to yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Exo 20:5 You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I Jehovah your God am a jealous God…
Yet we teach our children to revere, and dare I say it, even worship, the figure of Santa Claus!! Our culture has elevated a fictional character, Santa, to the status of a god!
But God tells us:
Isa 45:21 Declare and bring near; yea, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this of old? Who has told it from then? Is it not I, Jehovah? And there is no other God besides Me; a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me.
Isa 45:22 Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
We tell our children that he brings joy, love and peace to the world. If you read my earlier posts on Advent, you will see that it was God, through His son Jesus, who brought joy, love and peace to humankind.
Mic 7:7 Therefore I will look to Jehovah; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me!
How can we, as Christians be examples of “looking unto God” to our children when we are purposely directing their attention to a fairy tale?!
I wrestled with this question when I was a parent of two young boys. But I read a lesson which taught that we, as parents, should teach our children that our blessings (aka Christmas gifts at this time) come from God.
Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.
In our materialistic, consumer”istic” society, we forget who it is that blesses us with the ability to work and to earn money so that we can afford all those “prezzies”:
Act 7:41 And they made a calf in those days and offered sacrifice to the idol and rejoiced in the work of their own hands.
But when we obey God, He blesses our efforts:
Deu 14:28,29 At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year, and shall lay it up inside your gates. And the Levite, because he has no part nor inheritance with you, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, who are inside your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied, so that Jehovah your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
Parents teach children about Santa’s “naughty and nice” list and the consequences of being on the “naughty” list. This has caused some children confusion as they notice that poor children get little to nothing for Christmas. (This is what lead Virginia to write that letter so long ago). It leaves them wondering if being poor means being naughty. Conversely, I have known some very unpleasant children who receive mountains of “stuff” at Christmas. We say that Christmas is about “love”, so does that mean that financially poor parents don’t love their children as much as wealthier parents do?
Unlike Santa with his naughty and nice list, we have a merciful Heavenly Father who sends blessings upon both the naughty and the nice:
Mat 5:45 For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
When I chose to teach my children that Santa was not real but just a fairy tale, I was subjected to criticism and ridicule, especially from family members.But I “stuck to my guns” because I remembered:
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes,
And more importantly:
Mar 8:38 Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
People thought that I was ruining a special time for my children. Yet, the fact that I taught my children that their presents were a result of God blessing Mommy’s and Daddy’s ability to work and earn money to buy those presents, did not take away anything from their enjoyment of the season. They still looked forward, with eager anticipation, to stockings hung on their beds at night and presents round the tree in the morning. Teaching children that there is no Santa with a bottomless bag of toys can also teach children that we, as parents, need to be wise in handling the income God has blessed us with.
We need to teach our children that it is God, not Santa, that provides:
Php 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
And if you, or someone you know, is a parent facing financial difficulties and stress at this time of year, remember the following:
Mat 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed?
Mat 6:32 For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
I exhort you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that at Christmas, give credit where credit is due and say “No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, but there is a wonderful Heavenly Father, God and He sent us His most precious gift, His son, Jesus”.
Mat 22:17 Therefore tell us; what do you think? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?
Mat 22:21 They said to Him, Caesar’s. Then He said to them, Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things which are God’s.
I thought that the following poem was very appropriate for this blog post on Christmas Eve:
Twas The Night Before Jesus Came
Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their bibles were lain on the shelf without care,
in hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
not once ever kneeling or bowing a head;
And mom in her rocker with baby on her lap,
was watching the late show while I took a nap;
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter;
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
threw open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The light of His face made me cover my head,
it was Jesus returning, just like He said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the book of life, which He held in His hand,
was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name,
when He said, “It’s not here!” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound,
while all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late:
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight.
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear,
the coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when the last name is called,
we’ll find that the bible was true after all.