I know some of you who only read the title are already arguing with me in your mind… you have your justification for having done or doing Santa Claus in your life. I’m not one of those people who call Santa, “Satan Claus,” so just give me a little slack here and let me explain why Santa ain’t gettin’ the credit for God’s blessin’s in our life.
Yes, in my childhood we did Santa, for those who might be wondering. My mom and grandparents, however, never did let us believe he was a real person. We always knew it was someone else giving us the gift in his name and loved the excitement of seeing what would be under the tree with our names on it from him. We were forbidden from telling other children at school that there really was no such thing as Santa Claus and honestly mocked those who did “believe” because we knew the truth. I understand the thrill, and the fun, but as I see the culture turning anti-God I cannot bring myself to continue that tradition with my children.
My reasons for not continuing that tradition include:
Using the Christmas Season to Build Up Faith, Rather Than Destroy It.
I believe when we use Santa and allow our children to write letters to him, believe completely in child-like faith that he is real, that we are doing them and God a disservice.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:14, “…Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Children naturally are drawn to Christ when they are taught to love Him, and I hope to help our children love the story of His birth.
Building Up Their Faith Means I Will Not Lie
Justifying a reason to lie to your children for a period of 7-10 years using the Santa ideology, and then expecting your children to be truthful because it is a Biblical principle causes too much conflict. You can’t discipline your children for lying one minute and lie to them for one month every year because the last I checked lying was a sin (Psalm 120:2, Proverbs 6:16,17). I cannot lead our children into believing a lie without feeling deeply convicted. My desire is to build their faith, not breed inconsistency and deception.
How can children discern between the truth and a lie if they are in the sensitive time of their life where they believe everything their parents tell them? When many children realize that Santa is not a real person they lose faith in those people who allowed them to believe the years of lies. Children are very trusting and I do not want to be the person that abuses that trust. In order to eliminate confusion, our focus must be on Christ alone at Christmas and all other holidays with themes conflicting with our beliefs like Easter, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, and etc.
Our Christmas Focus
Our family dedicates all of Christmas morning to our tradition of honoring Christ alone. We have done many different things with our children to teach and emphasize the Christmas story like doing a birthday party for Jesus, dressing up as the Bible characters, reading the Christmas story as a family, and even listening to Christmas-themed audios that encourage us to look to Jesus. We open gifts on Christmas Eve and typically spend time with family in the afternoon. For the past 9 years we have lived far enough from family that we have the freedom to dedicate this time solely to Him without feeling conflicted. We also do not compete with other family members that do choose to add Santa into their traditions.
Left to Right: 1. The kids Christmas 2012 2. Birthday Party for Jesus Table Set-Up 3. Birthday Cake for Jesus (We always put a “?” for Jesus’ age since He really does not have one) 4. The cake was a gluten-free pinata cake 5.The kids Christmas 2013 dressed up as angels, shepherd, and a lamb. I was Mary and my husband was Joseph (not in photo).
Teaching that God is the Greatest Gift-Giver of All
Children worldwide try to be good for a fictional character so they can receive gifts on Christmas Eve. They anticipate it, they attempt to alter their behavior, they lay away thinking about it. Their thoughts are consumed with thinking of the good things Santa will bring. He is lifted up artificially to be the greatest gift giver, but my hope is to create a thought process in our children to realize that God is the greatest gift-giver of all, every day of the year.
We can learn from the Bible about God’s gifts
There are 9 specific Bible verses that are written containing the phrase “gift of God.” 3 references to “good gifts” from God in the New Testament. Ephesians 2:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
Psalms 68:19, 103:2, and 116:2, all describe God’s benefits to our lives in being something that is a daily occurrence we should never forget. Proverbs 10:22 teaches, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” The Bible’s most famous verses, John 3:16, 17 tell us about the specific gift of God that was The Ultimate Gift. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” And the gift He gave of His Son’s life as a payment for our sins is a gift that every person can receive (John 3:16 “whosoever” means any one).
I cannot give any gift to our children without God’s help. I can create an atmosphere of teaching them that every blessing is a gift from God and help them to view God as the best gift-giver.
Using Christmas to Focus On Christ and Christian Giving
The Distraction of Santa
Santa often steals the show as children consume their thoughts with writing out long lists and even letters to a Santa that will not even see or read them. Going to sit on his lap at the mall or school and tell them their heart’s desire becomes a fascination (if they’re not afraid out of their wits of the stranger). They are consumed with what they want to get for Christmas. I’m not saying that the entire Christmas season for a typical Santa believer is only filled with him because family traditions of giving tend to be another valued act that is entwined with him.
With the idea that Christ and Christ alone must be glorified at this time, we cannot allow the distraction of Santa. Our children are drawn to the allure but we explain why we must let God have first place. They are completely satisfied with the atmosphere of Christmas that we share together as a family. I want my children to take their heart’s desires to the Christ who already knows their hearts.
Giving in Jesus’ name, not Santa’s
I know many good-hearted people who give gifts in Santa’s name anonymously. Why would Santa’s name be more powerful a gift that Jesus’ name? The Bible says in Matthew 9:41 that if we give in Jesus’ name, we are blessed. “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” I believe it is far more valuable to give a gift in Christ’s name whether in person or anonymously because God receives the glory and He will reward that giving. We hope to promote that in our giving habits.
Love and Thanks Should be Expressed to God and the Gift Givers.
When our children receive those blessings of wonderful gifts on Christmas Eve we want God to get the credit. Yes, we bought the gifts, but from the money that God provided through either the job my husband has or through people who love us very much. This is one of the main reasons why Santa ain’t getting the credit for God’s blessin’s.
Allowing Santa to receive the credit gives the love your kids would give to you and others away to the wrong place. Gratitude should be able to be placed on the Lord and the gift-giver. Parent, when your children see the love you have for them because you have given them good things, then I believe their heart will be turned toward you. When their heart is turned toward you in thanks, then they are able to perform the Biblical commandment of honoring their parents, and thus glorifying God. After our children give us thanks it is our job to point them to God. Simply saying, “God gave us that money for the gift, be sure you tell Him thank you too” is all it takes to pass the praise to God.
Because the Spirit of Christmas is the Holy Spirit.
So many people cling to the traditions of how they grew up with Santa Claus and add him into their own personal traditions, and then call the excitement of Christmas morning the spirit of Christmas. I am here to say, the same Spirit that overshadowed the virgin Mary is the one that is the true Spirit of Christmas.
The Holy Spirit is the one that works in our hearts as we read the Bible and teaches us the profound blessing of the Christmas story each year. He works in the hearts of our children as we continue faithfully to teach them the truth about Christmas. He is the one that prompts our hearts to give to the needy families and reach out to neighbors. He is the comforter and leader as we speak to people about Christ during this season when joyfulness and open-heartedness abounds.
The spirit of doing things in the name of Santa Claus does not compare with the Holy Spirit’s working during the Christmas season. I want our children to realize His blessings.
My Final Thoughts
Santa ain’t got nothin’ on my God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And that’s why I can’t let him get the credit for how God’s blessin’ our family and we must teach them the Christmas season is all about Him being the best giver of all.