Friday, December 20, 2013

The Father of Christmas

Christmas is a weird holiday that both amazes and troubles me.  You have on the one hand a fat guy in bizarre clothes that only likes and interacts with prepubescent children and on the other, you have the Father of Christmas.  The real story of Christmas is that our Heavenly Father loves us and sent his Son to save us all from our sinfulness despite our unworthiness! 

  Yes.  This is is a post about why I hate Santa.

How do we know what is real?  We live in a world of "virtual" everything and the message that comes from the plugged in world is that fantasy is bigger and better than reality.  You can "go" anywhere in the world - online, you can look up any fact - online, you can see more amazing art in one hour than you could ever see if you were to spend a day at a museum or gallery - and all in front of a screen.  Is there anything lost in the pixelization of experience?

When I am online I can overwhelm my eyes and ears with data but the experience of the real world allows all my senses to take in and process information synergistically. I want my kids to so love the real things that they aren't tempted to immerse themselves in what is false.

God is real.  He permeates every atom of the universe where He displays His glory above the heavens, throughout the earth and from the depths of the sea.  The Bible has many passages about seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and even smelling.  We can know God through all of our senses, but the two most communicative senses: hearing and seeing are the ways we can learn what is real about God.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.

"For His invisible attributes, namely,
 his eternal power and diving nature
 have been clearly perceived, 
ever since the creation of the world 
in the things that have been made." 

We see him in nature, we hear about him through his word (the Bible).

The realness of things is important.  The trueness of things is as well.

"All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth

To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies" 

"The works of His hands are truth and justice; 
All His precepts are sure."

 The most impressionable time in our childrens' lives is in their earliest years where they explore, make comparisons and gather information that they later can organize and use to interpret their world.  We are helping them build a framework (an epistemology) that explains to them how they can know that what they know is real.

  When you believe something, you accept it as true.  Belief and an acceptance of truth are inseparable.  The person who taught you your first words, and how to put your pants on also taught you about Santa and Jesus.  Which do you believe?  Are they both true?  Are they both presented as true?

With the story of Jesus Christ our faith is built on facts gathered from reading the Nativity story in the Bible, what the adults in our lives tell us, and ... nothing else that is tangible.  

How can Jesus compete with Barbie?  

How can he stay real when Santa is proven false?  How can we show our children how to look for him, past the toy aisle and into the beautiful sunset splashed across the sky in bright pink and orange lights neon light?

Let's do a little comparison:

- promotes self-righteousness
- is uninvolved except for a once yearly check up
- encourages greed
- gives you what you want
- dumps his gift down the chimney and flies away

-Santa places his gifts under a tree, God hung His gift on it.

Jesus says
- "Let the little children come to me" -regardless of how good they are Matthew 19:14
- "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you" James 4:8
- Gives you Himself - "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:6-8
- Promises to never leave or forsake, asks you to be content with what you have Hebrews 13:5
- Asks you to "deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me" Matthew 16:24

What Christian virtue does Santa promote?  You can send him your list, but not a thank you card. So I have to ask, do you want the Man in the Red Suit, or the baby in the manger? Do you want a gift, or the Gift Giver? 

I honestly believe Santa is an idol erected next to the real and true Christ child that died to bring us more than a gift from X-mart

 Jesus is enough.  He is your real gift, your true pleasure. He's more than a seasonal Father, and the gift of salvation that started in the manger is eternal and cannot be lost, broken or worn out.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

 I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

 John 10:10

"You make known to me the path of life; 

in your presence there is fullness of joy, 

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 16:11

"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. 

No one comes to the Father except through me."

 John 14:6

"I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, 

but because you do know it, 

and because no lie is of the truth." 1 John 2:21

If you make a comment, and I hope you do, please keep it logical and thoughtful.  If you want to read something else entirely you can find me over at One Fun Mom with a gentler post about Christmas.


Megan Beaudoin said...

I wouldn't exactly call myself a Santa-hater, but we have always treated him like a storybook character in our house (actually, my husband's and my actual plan when we had our children was to not do the whole Santa thing. But... enter the mother-in-law...). But who wants to give a stranger credit for the thoughtfulness put into choosing gifts for my children? Not me! And incidentally, I think there's a pretty valid reason that most babies and small children don't want to have anything to do with sitting on "Santa's" lap. Enjoyed your post immensely.

mauby said...

Well put, Jacquelyn. You put so eloquently into words what rattles around in most of our minds and hearts. Thanks!

Homeschool on the Croft said...

I can not get my head around why parents want their kids to get a load of gifts of some 'faraway fictional character', and never even be able to thank the parents for the gifts given.

Add to that, telling you kids what is a blatant lie and then threatening blue murder to any unsuspecting children (aka, my kids!) who may tell other kids that Santa isn't real. Ohhhhh boy! How often we had to warn our own kids (against our own better judgement) not to dare tell other kids that Santa wasn't real... 'But,' they'd reply, 'He's NOT'. Ummmm, yep - kids more sensible than many parents.

"Kids, God is real. He created this world. You must be born again. Santa comes with your presents every December. Christ is coming again to judge the world..." ... Anyone else see a problem here?!

Jacquelyn moses said...

You make me laugh Megan! Thank you Mauby for your kind words. "Santa comes bringing presents, Christ will come to judge the world ..." Thats a hard juxtaposition to swallow! I do hate it when I'm the bad guy for accidentally letting it slip that Santa isn't real. Why is telling the truth so frowned on?

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