Santa Stories

Posted by  | Wednesday, December 22, 2010  at 9:27 AM  
Thanks to everyone who weighed in on "The Santa Question". Here's a compilation of everything we received on the blog and Facebook...

KC...All you need to do is look at other countries who are not as heavily churched as the USA to see how confused they are about Christmas. Many people living overseas have NO IDEA that Christmas is about Christ. They only see Santa and reindeer and think that Christmas is all about getting presents. This says, at least to me, that as Christians, we need to be going above and beyond to show the world the true meaning of Christmas. We cannot afford to have the world miss the real meaning of Christmas.

The Watczaks...Santa is as welcome in our house as Buzz Lightyear and Thomas the Train, which is to say that he's just another fun character. I agree that I don't like the "sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake" part and he doesn't come down our chimney, but I DO like what Veggie Tales has to say about St Nick and Loving because God loves us and Giving because God gave. They are going to see the red hats around town this time of year and I feel strongly that I'm not raising the kids who are going to ruin the fun for another family, so we say that it's someone dressed as St Nick and talking about giving gifts the same way we do because we're showing people God's love. But really, I have NO problem with families that DO Santa because I've always thought that if your Jesus story is threatened by a man in a big red coat, your Jesus story is too small.

Krista...There is a great Veggie Tales Video -Saint Nicholas - that tells the story of St. Nick. The music is also wonderful and one of the songs we have added to our family's Christmas carols. We also do not emphasize Santa. Christmas is Jesus' birthday and my hope is that everything we do will point my children to the Savior.

MMS...We wrestled with the Santa issue. We both grew up believing in Santa, but we didn't feel good about it for our family. Santa is portrayed as God-like: he sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, etc. We also don't like that the stories say you better behave or Santa won't give you gifts--that's the antithesis of the gospel of grace. Anyway, we visit Santa and take pictures and all, but the stories we read, the songs we sing, etc. are all about Jesus. The presents don't come from Santa either. And we definitely don't use Santa as a "threat" to encourage good behavior. We emphasize every day that we are celebrating Jesus' birthday at Christmas. In short, I guess we treat Santa like a character the kids would see at Disney World. He's not watching us or coming down our chimney; he's just a character in stories. Hope that makes some sense!

Lori...As my daughter is only 7 months old, I haven't had to face this dilemma yet, but I already know how I am going to handle it. We will not be encouraging her to believe in Santa Claus, and these are the reasons why:
1.) I agree with my parents, who chose not to raise us to believe in Santa Claus because they didn't want us to feel betrayed and like they'd lied to us all those years when we got older and realized he's just a mythical figure. They didn't say, "don't believe in Santa Claus", they just didn't emphasize him, so to us he was no different than Superman or the Smurfs.
2.)To me, one of the ways we as believers can be a light during Christmas is to emphasize Jesus instead of Santa. I have no problem with Christmas traditions such as a tree, presents, and stockings, but I avoid Santa in my decorating and give the Nativity a prominent place because I want it to be clear Who we believe in.Perhaps I feel so strongly about this because I lived in the Czech Republic for 5 years, and there, children are raised to believe in Jesus as nothing more than a fictitious Santa-like figure. I certainly want my children to be able to distinguish the two!
3.) I WILL be teaching my children that for many Americans, Santa Claus is a part of Christmas and will teach them the history behind it.

The Roberts Five...no, we don't believe in santa. our children are ages 2, 3, and 4, and they all know that santa is like a character in a fairy tale. they know mommy and daddy give them their gifts on christmas morning and that christmas is all about jesus' birthday.

David Murphy...I was raised to believe in Santa Clause, but I was also raised to believe in the Birth of Christ...so the 2 ideas have a...lways been infused together. My family celebrates the holiday season both ways. The First way is having my nieces and nephews understand (and celebrate) the birth of Christ, and how He was the Son of God. Christ was OUR Gift from God for them and for everyone on earth. He is/ was the greatest gift to receive.
Then we move over to Santa Clause (ho ho ho). Many people use Thanksgiving as a day of thanks, but also utilize Christmas as a day of thanks as well. Most of family members know that he's not real, but they adore the fact that get gifts for being extra good (i.e., school, chores, etc.). The biggest believer in our family is my sister Angela, who is mentally handicapped. She talks about him non-stop and always talks about being a good girl for Santa Clause to stop and drop off presents, but at the same time...she knows that we buy her the presents for Santa Clause lol. It's a battle to never be won, but it helps to re-kindle a bit of youthful happiness and joy to see someone believe so effortlessly. She does also understand about being good and bad, and that God is always watching over her. She freely talks about it. Even my nieces and nephews that Santa is not a real person, encourages the happiness from My sister's belief in Santa Clause.
I guess it is easier for people to believe in someone that is watching over them and visits once a year, then it is to believe that God is watching over us 365 days of the year.
I try to make the little onces (from 11 years of age and younger) understand the true meaning of Christmas, but inform them that we should have this kind of spirit throughout the whole year. To always be kind and gracious, to be giving and loving, and to always remember that there are people less fortunate then us.
Even though my family is extremely poor, and struggles to afford even the littlest pieces of food to make sure they eat every day...the amount of kindness that pours in from the community to my sister and her children is very overwhelming. People tend to do extra-ordinary things for other people. Not necessarily for Santa Clause, but for the feeling of being present in the moment of being able to give things selflessly...without the need of retribution. I wish people would be more like this year round. That is my only thought. Christmas can be every day...and not just once a year. It's like every day is filled with Random Acts of Kindness.

And some further reading suggested:
Washington Post
Jon and Mollie's blog
Rachael's blog
Santa, Are you for real?

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