sac·ro·sanct[sak-roh-sangkt] Show IPA
extremely sacred or inviolable: a sacrosanct chamber in the temple.
not to be entered or trespassed upon: She considered her home office sacrosanct.
above or beyond criticism, change, or interference: a manuscript deemed sacrosanct.
let's be honest, in america, santa has become sacrosanct. even in Christian circles. when bry and i told people we weren't teaching our kids that santa was real, it was met with much scoffing and guffawing. i understand the sentiment. it's fun to believe in something that is mysterious and magical and simply unexplainable. however, bryan and i feel like there are some major hangups with santaology that we do not wish to impart to our children.
1.) It's a lie.
we believe that good parenting calls for honesty and integrity to the best of our ability in every situation. if our kids ask if santa is real, we tell them the truth. just like we would tell them the truth if they asked if mickey mouse or thomas the train were real. santa is a fun fictional character. we can enjoy movies about him and read stories about him and even talk about the real st. nick whom the fictional character is based on. but will a jolly, large man dressed in red find a way into our house on christmas eve and leave presents that tiny elves made in the north pole? nope. those presents were thoughtfully bought and wrapped and given because your family loves you and cares for you. isn't that important too?
2.) Naughty or Nice.
to try and modify my child's behavior by reminding him that a magical man (or elf on a shelf) is creepily watching even while he's sleeping is weird. we try to do good things and be nice and love one another well because Jesus first loved us and has given us example and instruction to do so. as we're trying to teach our kids that they should love others as they love themselves, we don't want the motivation to be so that they can selfishly get more presents if they're extra nice. also, how do we explain it when children who come from low income families don't get awesome presents? is it because santa caught them being naughty? or is it because their parents or parent are trying to keep food on the table and don't have the luxury of spending tons of money on gifts?
3.) The Present Thing.
christmas has become a consumeristic holiday race where the person who gets (or the parent who gives) the biggest, best, newest, and most is the winner. as parents who believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior, we really want to teach our kids that Christmas is about celebrating, remembering, and focusing on God's greatest gift to a dying, broken world: the incarnation of His Son, Jesus. we've decided to do 3 gifts for each child to parallel the gifts for Christ from the wise men (yes, i realize that the wise men technically did not arrive until tiny little baby Jesus was about 2 years old, but they are still part of the Christmas story, people!) we will strive, with the presents that we do give, to make sure they are organic/fair trade/sustainably produced simply because we don't want others to suffer at the expense of our gift giving. we have also decided to let our kids pick out 3 gifts from the compassion international gift catalog. we will narrow down the choices so that they are affordable for our family, but we want our children to get in the habit of giving where it counts. i'm hoping this new years to start a compassion jar that we can fill up all year. then next december, we can count out how much we've saved and pick out a life changing gift with our change. we'll see how that goes. the bottom line: we want our kids to know that the gifts they get and give are meaningful and making a difference, not made by elves in a shop in the north pole.
i'm not trying to hate on the families who are hardcore pretenders when it comes to santa. i'm just trying to explain why our family doesn't think it's worth it. we still have fun taking our kids to see christmas lights, wrapping presents for others, making christmas crafts and ornaments, doing random acts of christmas kindness for strangers, spending time together, etc., etc., etc.
like i said, it's fun to believe in something that is mysterious, and magical, and simply unexplainable.
the virgin birth of Christ,
the word made flesh come to rescue the world,
the Hope long awaited for,
the Promised One,
God graciously reconciling His people back to himself
THAT is a unexplainable mystery worth celebrating, a gift deserving of thanksgiving, and most importantly it is TRUTH.