Heart Reflections Live
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Effects of Fantasy- Part 3
Part 3 Dealing With the Santa Claus Myth
With Christmas fast approaching, & having discussions on the effects of fantasy on children, I felt that discussing "What to do with Santa?" was a natural progression & a natural one for Christian families.
This is what we do. I realize everyone is different & I'll welcome any comments sharing your views. We have come to our conclusions based on what we believe to be godly wisdom, & love & respect towards others.
1. The most important thing we do is aim for a Christ-centred Christmas. Our children know the Bethlehem story backwards & are far more excited over angels appearing than the big guy in the red suit. They know the Bethlehem story is a TRUE one. We foster this by talking of Jesus all the time, playing Christ-centred carols, & talking of Christmas being the day we celebrate Jesus' birthday. He is God's special gift to us. We take them to visit a couple of local churches that re-create Bethlehem in a tangible way. This has become part of our family's Christmas tradition.
2.We teach them the true story of Saint Nicholas. For those who don't know, Nicholas was born in AD 280 in Patara in Asia-Minor. He learnt of Jesus through his parents, who were faithful believers, but sadly they died when he was still young. The godly heritage they passed on to him took root in his heart & he entered the priesthood aged 19. He became the bishop of a small village & his influence spread into many nations.
Many accounts have been written about his life. He would spend nights studying God's Word so he could share it with the people, he reportedly raised twin brothers from the dead & lived to help the poor. The most famous story involved Nicholas secretly providing dowry money, to a poor man with 3 daughters, so that they could be married. While he was delivering the final dowry, he was caught out!!
When Nicholas died on Dec 6, 343 AD, he is said to have quoted Psalm 11 with his last breaths- "In the Lord I put my trust." December 6 became known as Saint Nicholas Day, & it was widely celebrated across Europe in different ways according to their countries' customs. His name varied from country to country- Father Christmas, Sinter Klaas, Belsnickle, Kris Kringle etc. All of these traditions blended with immigration to America & eventually he commonly became known as Santa Claus.
When "Twas the night before Christmas..." was written it brought us closer to the modern image of Santa, along with cartoonist Thomas Nast, adding a North Pole toy workshop in Harpers Weekly magazine.
The true story of Saint Nicholas is a story of loving & giving- not of a jolly red fellow who you can order toys from.!! When our children see a shop Santa, they sometimes say hello, but they are coming to realize he's just dressing up as St Nick. The real St Nick is in heaven with Jesus. They sometimes call him Father Christmas or Santa, but they don't believe he puts their presents under the tree. Their presents are gifts of love from those who love them.
We've avoided calling Santa "Satan Claws" or anything like that-they could ruin another child's Christmas and that's not walking in love. Everyone has a right to raise their children anyway they wish- even if they are wrong, so we must be wise as to how we approach such things. I feel it's more constuctive to handle things this way, than to turn them into Santa haters.
People's hearts are softer at Christmas time- let's use it as the evangelism opportunity it is. Let's face it, unbelievers are singing full-on songs about the deity of Christ-pray they'll get a revelation of the One they're singing about & show them "Christ in us the hope of glory" as we shine for Him!!
3. Lastly, please don't lie to your children about Santa...They take things to heart. When they find out you told them a fantasy about Santa, then they may think you're lying about the reality of Jesus too- that's my concern.
Anyway that's my view on Christmas & Santa-what's yours?