Merry Clausmas … er, I mean Christmas

I hate Santa Claus. Okay, I don’t really hate him but I hate that he’s taking over Christmas!. Christmas might as well be named Clausmas, because the holiday season has become more about him and gift-giving than Jesus Christ and his gift to mankind. Yes, I believe even the “spirit of gift-giving” has made us lose focus on the true meaning of Christmas. That is NOT the reason for the season. Jesus’ birth, his coming to earth to conquer sin and death, that is what we should be celebrating. Not getting or giving gifts, not snow or snowmen, Christmas trees or holiday lights. Not even food or family. Jesus.

With that in mind, we do not celebrate Santa Claus in my house. That doesn’t mean we don’t talk about him, ban songs and movies about him or hide him from existence. Without living in a bubble, it would be difficult to do since he has penetrated our media, our retail stores and our hearts. There is a real St. Nicholas, so we talk about who he was and what he did. He was a Christian who was motivated to do good because of his love for Jesus Christ (at least that’s my take). But, he doesn’t come to our house on Christmas Eve in a red suit with a bag full of presents. Our gifts come from us. How can you teach your children about giving when presents appear magically under the tree Christmas morning? Well, I have to admit there is some selfishness in avoiding this tradition. I want credit and thanks for the presents my children receive!

But not only does Santa Claus take away from the true meaning of Christmas, I believe it’s deceiving to encourage your kids to believe in something that doesn’t exist. What’s to keep them from questioning faith in God when they discover that Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and the Tooth Fairy is each a ruse–perpetuated by people they love and trust?

Instead, I would encourage you to emphasize stories of hope and faith brought to us by God’s love. Get your kids excited about the original story. You might be surprised that they are just as captivated by the baby Jesus in a stable with animals, and angels, shepherds and kings, as they are Santa and his reindeer.Even if Santa Claus is a part of your holiday, please be sure to keep it light-hearted in contrast to the deep–though sometimes hard to find outside of your church–presence of the true meaning of Christmas this year.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

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