Monday, November 22, 2010

The Santa Secret

This is chapter one of the book "Everything you always wanted to know about Christmas" Discussions and Answers to my 11 yr old's questions.

Why are there so many Santa decorations? The image of Santa has become an icon and a symbol. It is a reminder to us of how joyful it is to be cheerful givers, and how blessed we are to be able to celebrate with our family and friends. For example, at our house we have an old plastic one that lights up. It was Grandma Grace’s. Daddy Brad remembers it from when he was a little boy. We have a cute one that my friend, Lisa, made for me out of a fireplace log. It reminds me of the parties we used to have with their family. We also have one that is a nesting set where the small one fits into a little larger one and so on. That was also a gift.

But my favorite one is a Santa kneeling beside the baby Jesus.

When I was a little girl I loved knowing that Santa would always remember me. He would bring me something wonderful every year without fail. He must really care about me to watch over me all the time and to give me gifts when I didn’t deserve them. I mean, let’s face it, I tried to be good, but really I was just as selfish as everyone else. It was amazing to me that there was someone who loved every child in the entire world.

Will the real hero please stand up! Yep, Santa was my hero. If someone tried to tell me that Santa was not real it would break my tender heart! I did not want it to be true. Yet somehow I knew something wasn’t quite right about this Santa fellow. I felt empty and lost because I knew that I needed a hero…that the world needs a hero.

My sadness was lifted when I finally learned that Jesus is real and he is much better than Santa.

Who is Santa, really?
Nicholas of Myra is a real guy, a good guy who loved God and children. He was a Christian and part of the early church in Rome. He secretly gave gold to a family that really needed it. When people found out it also inspired them to give gifts and money by hiding them in shoes and socks or by the fireplace. Later he became known as the legend of Father Christmas and Sinterklaas. You know what happens to stories, they grow bigger and bigger and more and more exaggerated. Then somebody writes a book or movie that turns Saint Nicholas into a kind of superhero with a flying sleigh and the ability to pause time.

How is Jesus better than Santa? Jesus is really the one who watches over you with love. His love for you will never stop no matter what happens. It is Jesus who sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake. He knows what you hope for in your heart. He hears your every silent prayer. He won’t forget you ever. He wants the best for you. He is the one who forgives you when you are not good. He is the creator of beautiful mansions. He is the highest king. He wants to rescue you from harm and adopt you into his family. He does not need reindeer to fly because the Holy Spirit comes to you instantly whenever you invite Him. His helpers are not elves, they’re angels. It is Jesus who lives forever and also gives us the power to become immortal. He is the mighty hero who defeated death. He will someday rule the earth and make things right and fair and good.

We know that some adults do not want to give up the tradition of Santa because it brings back such good memories of their carefree childhood and they want to pass that along to their children. They want to create a magical world for their kids, if only for just one day a year. They also know that it is really fun to give a gift and not tell who it is from. The bible talks about this too. It says don’t even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Now that’s sneaky!

But it is possible to include Santa in Christmas without making him the focus. My kids were preschool age when they asked if Santa was real and I quickly said, “No, Honey, That is just a game we play, so don’t tell anybody”. They seemed to like being in on the secret. Wink, wink. I want to always tell them the truth so they don’t get confused like I was.

And now you are in on the secret, too. But I bet you already knew.