Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santa Claus

I noticed earlier today that Danielle is hosting a lively discussion regarding the existence of Santa Claus. Maybe I'm naive, but it never would have occurred to me that so many people would not include Santa in their Christmas celebrations! I have such happy memories of the Christmas Eve's of my youth, sneaking out of my bed and tiptoeing down the hall to my brothers' room where I would try to sleep for the remainder of the night on a nest of pillows and blankets on the floor between their twin beds until finally, as a trio, we'd creep into our parents' room to wake them before going to see what Santa left us under the tree. That sense of magic and anticipation is something that has never left me, not even during my turbulent teens when, having long since discovered the truth about Santa, I'd still play along for the benefit of my younger brother. That joy and wonder is something I would never wish to deny my kids, or myself! I'll never forget how giddy I felt the Eve of Dylan's first Christmas five years ago. Darren and I were as happy as children ourselves, "being" Santa for the very first time. As Dylan has grown, and as we've welcomed more children into our family, the joy we get from being Santa is still just as strong. There is very real pleasure to be had in lovingly considering exactly what each of our children will enjoy, and then seeing their faces light up when they see their gifts under the tree.

There is, of course, no question in our minds as to what the true meaning of Christmas really is. Even our kids understand that it is so much more than just presents under the tree. But I don't think there is anything wrong with including Santa as part of our celebration.

Last night, while the kids and I were reading the story of Saint Nicholas, we looked for all the ways in which Santa Claus resembled him.

"Isn't Santa clever?" we all agreed. "He must love Saint Nicholas so much that he tries to be just like him!"

Which, really, is exactly what I hope to impart to my children: that Saint Nicholas was one of God's special helpers. That he loved poor people and tried his best to help them. That he gave kindly and selflessly and that we must, too.

I know the day will come when my kids realize that Santa Claus doesn't really exist. But until then, we're keeping his magic and spirit alive for as long as we can.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. I was thinking the same thing today, as I read Danielle's blog. I had no idea that some choose not to allow that magical part of Christmas in as well.

Children are only young and innocent for such a short period of time. I love that we get to celebrate their youth and innocence every December!

Jesus is the reason for the season and here comes Santa Claus!

Anonymous said...

OK. I have tried to leave a comment twice and it keeps getting erased. How frustrating, esp. at 6:45am.

I was just wanting to say some of the same things. I was all flustered by Danielle's post and some of the comments yesterday - purely becuase I have so much respect for Danielle, I found my silly self thinking, "If that's what she does, it must be right." I know that's not the case. Not a matter of faith and morals and truly look at all the variation in celebration.

We will still do Santa and continue to emphasize the baby Jesus.

God bless you.

My earlier comments were better, but I am tired of rewriting. :))

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Jamie said...

Thank you Melissa!
My thoughts exactly!!
I found myself re-thinking Santa and even asked my husband if we should stop it. He of course said "no way". But he did not read all that was discussed yesterday. I think it all has to do with balance, in everything. We still emphasize Jesus! The kids know it is Jesus' birthday and not Santa's birthday. They know Santa is so happy that it is Jesus' birthday that he spreads Joy everywhere. My 6 year old did have some interesting questions regarding the needy and that Santa goes to them also...hard to answer those questions. It was answered with a "what do you think?"

It was a good discussion though, it helps us to understand eachother and realize we are all different and have to do what works for us. God Bless you Melissa!

Jamie said...

I forgot to say, we believe that Santa is St Nicholas and that's how he does it all, he's a saint and can do miraculous things through God. So we know that Mrs Claus is not real....

Anonymous said...

Sorry about all the comments. As you can see, I really was having major blogger troubles this morning. Pardon my overabundance. Feel free to delete at will.

Jamie, I too found myself wondering if I should rethink. No way! It's all in how you approach it!

Misty said...

My thoughts exactly! *Nodding my head* to you and your commentors.

I don't feel bad perpetuating a "lie" because I believe Santa really does exist still! He's a saint afterall!! (Well, I was taught Santa and St. Nick were one in the same anyway.) His spirit of giving is alive and well within each of us every year when we excitedly play Santa Claus to our children. The Communion of Saints, right?!

That's why I like the idea behind the cheesy Santa Clause movie. Not that whoever kills Santa becomes the next one! But that we are each chosen to assume his role this time of year. Kind of like a duty to continue the magic of giving and sharing. Just like it's our duty to educate our kids on the mystery of Christ. Trying to explain humanity/divinity/Trinity is no easy task! I think Santa helps support the reason for the season. The wonder of Christmas time. The FUN of giving. And the importance of passing on hope and faith to our kids.

Plus, the spirit of giving isn't about being recogized for your generosity. We aren't supposed to flaunt/exploit our suffering or service for Him in order to receive recognition and credit. So we give in ambiguity--the name of Santa.

A stretch?! LOL Perhaps. But it helps me feel better about the whole thing. To connect it all back to Christ and not feel as though Santa is only secular or competing with Jesus.

Thanks for letting me get that all out. Sorry about the L-O-N-G post. I'm a talker, can you tell?! :)

Amy Parris said...

I'm so glad to read this post. I couldn't even comment on Danielle's blog for fear of being shot down.

I love Santa. I have such fantastic memories of the magic my parents and grandparents brought to the day. When I found out the truth I was disappointed, not because my parents had pulled a fast one on me but because it was more fun to believe than not to.

I still learned the true meaning of Christmas. I have just as many fond memories of coming home from church Christmas Eve, putting baby Jesus into the manger and singing "Happy Birthday" to him.

I love the image of Santa kneeling at the manger. After all, he is just the Americanization of Saint Nicholas and I know he would kneel before the King.

Thanks for sharing.