It’s that time of the year again… Christmas time! And once again my mind is plagued with the question that only arose in recent years of my life. That only became a very real issue since my children became of questioning age. Santa Claus?
My husband and I decided, quite agreeably, to not encourage the fairytale of the Claus. So, from the time our daughter (our oldest child) could inquire, we let her know that there was in fact no such thing as Santa. Santa was actually derived from the history of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint. Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholics and Orthodox Christians. He was known for his secret gift-giving… from thus the Santa fairytale sprang.
This year, following her 6th birthday my daughter asked me how Santa would get into our house when we do not have a chimney. I off-handedly re-inforced to her that there is in fact no Santa, to which she replied, “But I saw him in the mall and he was just on that commercial!” By this time she had my full attention, although I was nearly speechless over what I had just heard my, praise song singing, prayer warrior, Shabbat school loving, daughter say. So, I explained to her that what she’d seen was a man dressed up in a Santa costume like people dress up on halloween. I also told her that Christmas actually means CHRIST time and that Christmas is indeed all about celebrating Jesus’ birthday and not about Santa coming to bring gifts. She didn’t say anything after that. I went back to the kitchen to finish cooking, but I couldn’t shake her dubious expression from my mind’s eye.
Then today, we had a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. During our mentor mom moment, I had a bit of a revelation of some sort. The mentor mom of the month was cautioning us to be mindful of the message we send our children during this season. Yes, those same children whom we as mothers are constant ministers to 😉 She explained that our choices/our message may possibly have an effect on our children’s faith. And later, during my bath time pondering, the magnitude of the well-developed commercial quality that now surrounds Christmas hit me square in the face. I was mulling over the things that Mona (mentor mom) had said, and then I recalled the previous conversation with my daughter. The holiday that a secular world had turned our “holy day” into was very successful indeed. And it was displayed to me through the clean pallet of innocence which happened to be my child. Many times I find myself looking at things or even participating in things that I consider to be quite harmless where my faith is concerned. And time and time again… it has taken, me seeing what my child has gleaned from exposure to the same situation in order to, open my eyes to the harm in what I am participating in. The prime example I’ll use is my decision to not watch certain music videos anymore. Nothing spells reality like seeing your 2 year old gyrating to the latest hip-hop beats in the same fashion she saw the ladies (and I use that term losely) in the video doing… I mean really people… is this what you want your child doing?… Anywho, I digress on that particular point.
I guess you could say I knew many years before I had children what my answer on the Claus would be. I was always slightly baffled at the fact that my friends who did not confess Christ as their Lord and Savior would celebrate Christmas. The truth was, it was a secular recognition of a time of giving and not the actual rejoicing in the gift that the Lord bestowed on the world… Jesus! The secular recognition was not evil or negative so to speak… just distracting from the focus of Christ.
So, tonight I found my eyes wide open to a truth… My daughter is finding it quite a bit easier, or at least more sensible, to concentrate on Santa. Santa whom she can physically see, rather than on Jesus who she has never had a physical glimpse of. And I am smacked by the reality that my talk is worth nothing if my walk does not speak the same words. What am I telling her by reinforcing this fairytale, which is indeed a lie playing into her life? How is it enriching her life which is meant for the Kingdom first and foremost? And if I am really honest with myself when asking, what Jesus would do?… the answer would certainly not be indulging in a lie of any sort. Especially not one that focuses young, impressionable eyes on things of the world rather than the Kingdom of G-d.
I am not knocking other parents for what they choose pertaining to the question of the Claus. I believe that each person should move according to what the Spirit is convicting or guiding them to do. As for me; my heart has been moved to refocus my children and to keep turning their eyes to Him. My eyes have been opened today to the pitfalls of going along with secularism even one inch and how it can take from the glory of G-d. The battle wages on and I am happy with my answer!