Monday, December 19, 2011

Big Man Upstairs

Ah, Santa. That jolly old fellow, inextricably connected to our Christmas season. Also an eternal source of conflict among Christians and non-Christians alike. Everyone has different ways of dealing with Santa, from those who embrace the mall photos and write "from Santa" on every gift, to those who are quick to point out that "Santa" rearranged spells "Satan" and cover their children's eyes whenever a Coca Cola ad comes on TV. 

Our children are very young yet so we really haven't had to deal with Santa very much. Although this is Eli's third Christmas, it's the first one where he's really at all aware. We encountered Santa at our community tree trim, and despite a little trepidation Eli took his place in line to receive his treat bag full of candy. Then proceeded several days of talking about "Satta! Canny!" after which Santa quickly faded out of his little memory.

My growing up is filled with clear memories of my own reaction to Santa Claus. We didn't "do" Santa in our family. It was always clear that Santa wasn't real, and our presents were always "From Mom and Dad." It certainly didn't make Christmas any less exciting for us as children - after all, these were presents - who cares who they're from!

My attitude about Santa was one of somewhat smug superiority over my less-informed friends. I had been carefully instructed and admonished that I was NOT to tell them that Santa wasn't real. I wasn't to lie to them, but just avoid the subject. I was fine with this. I remember that it would annoy me when store clerks or people at church would ask me if I was excited about Santa coming. I wanted them to know that I knew, and that we didn't have to keep up the charade. Inquiries about Santa were usually met with an annoyed glance and an "I know that Santa Claus ISN'T REAL" from little Emily. My mother found it awkward. So did the store employees. In retrospect I can see why.

My darling next sister had a very different perspective. She was much more tender-hearted than I was. While I was content with my superior knowledge, she was crushed that her poor friends were so deceived. In her little mind, their parents were lying to them, and she would be their saviour. Despite my parents' attempts to restrain her, I'm sure she spilled the beans on more than one occasion, tears in her eyes, earnestly pleading with her young friends to see the truth. 

 Lianne (Santa-hater), Me, Ariel (The Pretty One), Naomi (Baby)

As we got older and this became less of an issue, my arrogance was replaced with apathy, while her genuine concern was replaced with resentment. She hated Santa Claus. Even as an adult I'm pretty sure she still dislikes most things connected with him. I am sure that when she gets married and has little ones of her own there will be no Santa Claus in that house. Might have to write it into the marriage contract...

My two youngest sisters were much like me, maybe not so arrogant but definitely not as passionately anti-Santa as Lianne was. 

So the question remains, what to do about Santa? Having grown up the way I did I have a very hard time imagining ever encouraging my children to believe in Santa. That being said, I would never object to parents "playing" Santa with their children, as long as they weren't lying to them. Some things are black and white, and the Bible clearly says not to lie. It doesn't say that there are exceptions, or it's ok if it's a harmless lie, or a lie that will help people, or a lie that is fun, it merely says don't lie. I try not to question what the Bible says. It generally turns out to be right. So I wouldn't lie to my children. I also will not demonize Santa, since I see no problem with pretending and make believe.

 Ultimately, I don't want the focus of Christmas to be Santa or no Santa, "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," presents or donating money. I want it to be about the birth of Christ, not controversy. That's my goal for this season!

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  1. I grew up not "doing" santa as well, and we are passing that along to our children. It is hard when they are little to help them understand it's not the most wicked thing out there, we just don't do it and they don't have to go around talking about it. :) I don't want some parent getting really upset at me because my child is the one who told them the truth about santa!

  2. Well said Emm. Happy holidays and I hope Santa brings you everything you want ;)

  3. Good post Emily. I studied for a while in the bible how harsh a lie can really be. To whom ever you lie to, is committing murder spiritually towards that person. I could get you what studied if you are ever interested.

    As for Santa, he is the first lie we tell our kids, then for them to find out he is not real and then they realized we lied to them, it totally turns down their trust in us as being their parents. Santa Claus' originates from this from this idol god that some people worshipped known to be called "Molech" or "Molick". Which was a child sacrifice on the 25th the parents would write out a list of all their wants. And put it in this statue type furnice shaped as a human man with big red belly and the hands held out as if to be holding little babies and on top of the head of the statue was a phrygian cap which basically the same hat that "Santa Claus" wears. The parents would light a fire and wait until the belly of this metal statue got red hot. Then place their child into MOLECH's arms that was right over the red hot belly. Then burn their list inside the statue and offer their child as a sacrifice by placing them in the arms that were over top the red hot belly. This is where part of "Santa Claus" originated from.

  4. Oh my Ashley, I was not aware of that interpretation of the origins of Santa. To be honest I'm a bit skeptical, although I know that people did worship Molech and sacrifice children to him I'm not sure that Santa is in any way based on that practice.

    Here is a good article talking about the basics of where the story of Santa Claus came from:

    Ultimately though it's not super important where the myth originated. I think what's more relevant is what it stands for today and how we deal with it :)

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