Teaching our children about the real reason we celebrate Christmas is important. Choosing to include a make believe character is a person choice. But is it really safe to include Santa in our Christmas celebrations? To believe or not believe: teaching our children about Christmas is a look at one simple question about including Santa in the Christmas festivities.
To Believe or Not Believe: Teaching Our Children About Christmas
For the past couple of days, I have been thinking on the Santa Claus situation we face every year. I know that people think, oh it's innocent fun. But is it? Why do we celebrate Christmas? If we stop and think, Christmas is about our Saviour's birth, not about us receiving presents. It's the day set aside for all to celebrate Jesus' birthday.
There have been many questions that have run through my mind about this whole way of celebrating and here are a few:
For Christians, Jesus is the most important gift we have ever received. Why would we not want to base our Christmas season around Him and Him only, it is His birthday? Do we want to share our birthday with someone else? Don't we have that little bit of selfishness come out and want that day to be about ourselves and to be special? Don't you think that Jesus wants to be the center of attention at Christmas, it is His birthday after all.
For those that do not believe in Jesus, they celebrate the Christmas season as a time for sharing and receiving. Jesus is not the center of the season for them. Then there are those that don't celebrate Christmas at all. Both situations are sad for me to think about. I love having a reason to celebrate Christmas!
What about those who celebrate using Santa and then teach their children about Jesus' birthday? Why do both? Why not choose one and leave the other out? Does Jesus have the same amount of "exposure" as Santa? How can you teach about Christmas being all about Jesus' birthday when there is another figure being brought in on the scene?I posted a question on two forums and on Facebook, hoping to get good comments from people and I did. I wish I would have received more. The whole Santa thing is a touchy subject and most people don't want others to know how they truly feel about it. There are those, who can become defensive because they want others to agree with them for their reasonings. And there are those, who point fingers at others for what they believe to be okay.
The question I asked is: Are we teaching our children it is okay to lie when we teach them to believe in Santa? Now mind you, a child has to be taught Santa is real for them to know who he is. The teaching has to continue for them to believe in him. Just like when we teach our little toddlers that an oven is hot and to not touch it. If we don't keep reminding them of this, they will touch it and be burned. How are our children being taught about Santa if we are not the ones that keep him in front of them and telling them, "Santa is watching!"
People, why teach them that some old white-haired man is watching them? Why not teach them that God (the one who created them, the one who gives them eternal life) is watching them, because He is.
To Believe or Not Believe
So if we introduce Santa to our children and tell them he is watching to see if they are behaving and that he brings them toys on Christmas Eve, aren't we lying to them? But yet, we are teaching our children it is wrong to lie. Isn't that a double a standard?
My husband and I have discussed this in the past and just last night. I hope I can explain this as clearly as he did.
If we teach our children that there is a Santa (someone they see at the mall) and later on tell them the truth, how can we expect our children to trust us in everything we tell them?
I personally do not want to disappoint my child. I would never want to do anything to hinder our trusting relationship.
How are our children to want to grow their faith in Jesus (whom they cannot see) when they are being taught about His great love and all the wonderful things He has done and will do for them?
What will keep them from putting Jesus in the same "make believe" category?
One comment made stated their children know about Jesus and His wonderful works and they have a relationship with Him. I'm thankful children have a relationship with Jesus, but what happens in 10 -15 years down the road and things fall apart and a young person doubts their faith? Is a "little" lie going to be a stumbling block and cause someone to turn away from the Lord? I'm not saying it is, but it could be.I heard several comments about a stumbling block, several believed the belief in Santa would not cause any problem but I had more to comment on how it would be a stumbling block. Will this cause a problem with children accepting Jesus as their Saviour? Honestly, I don't know.
But what about having your children trust you? I had several say they grew up believing in Santa and they did not have a problem with their parents encouraging the belief in Santa, it was all in innocent fun. Then there are those who were more hurt over being lied to by their parents, than the whole Santa deal.
I have a ten-year-old. We have never taught him to believe in Santa. He was taught early on this was a made up thing and Christmas was about Jesus and His birth. We have also taught him that God provided a job for his Dad and with the salary, we can buy gifts he would like to have.
My son knows the story of St. Nicholas and how over time, the history of Nicholas turned into the Santa Claus thing. I asked him how he felt about Santa. He told me, he felt sad to know there are other children being taught to believe in a man who is not real. He was glad we never led him to believe in Santa then told, later on, he was not real. When he looked up in my eyes and said, "Mom, you would have told me a lie and it's a sin to lie, no matter what". After hearing his words and seeing he face, I was relieved we never led him to believe in something that is not real.
We all have our opinions on things and that makes our lives interesting.
Answering my question, are we teaching our children it's okay to lie when we teach them to believe in Santa? Yes. I know others will disagree that's fine. We are supposed to be living a godly life in front of our children. We are to be setting examples for the little eyes that are watching us. Think back to your childhood... Is there something that your parents did or said that you have made a point to not do? Those who are honest with themselves will say, YES, myself included.If we are leading our children into a make-believe thing, a lie, then we are teaching them it is okay to tell a lie. No matter how you cut it, it's a lie. We're showing our children there are times when it is okay to lie.
This post has been a really hard one for me to write. At first, I wanted to lay it all out on the line and use Bible verses that talk about how God hates lying. But I couldn't because there are so many who feel that teaching their children to believe in Santa is not a lie. After deleting this post 2 times, I wrote out the questions that keep coming to mind. This was not just a quick process because I prayed the whole time someone will read this and see we are teaching something that is not all that innocent.
Teaching to believe in Santa is an individual home decision. It is something that both parents need to be on the same page about, something that needs to be prayed about. But don't be surprised when feelings are hurt because a child is more hurt over being lied to than the subject of Santa Claus.
As I said earlier, we all have our own opinions, and this post is mine. If I stepped on a toe or two, then maybe praying about what is being taught in a home is something that needs to be done.
Do you allow your children to believe in Santa?