Most parents I know have at one point or another questioned the inclusion of Santa Claus in their Christmas celebration. “When my children discover that Santa is make believe, how will I convince them that the same is not true about Jesus?” I’ve been asked this on several occasions and the concern is valid. We want our children to trust that even though the world will tell them all sorts of crazy lies, the things coming out of our mouths can be absolutely trusted.
The worldly stories told around Christmas time are intoxicating. They are about a fat man in a fuzzy red suit with flying reindeer that somehow fits down every chimney. This is what the world knows of Santa. They think they know him very well. The idea certainly fosters in my children the creative and inquisitive use of imagination I want them to use to the fullest extent of their abilities. It's a terrific story, but it’s not the word of God. So how do I balance encouraging the excitement and anticipation of the gifts, and at the same time being grounded in the Giver? Can I have it both ways? I think so.
I purchased this book for my family last year to read on St. Nicholas Day, December 6th. I am sharing it with you today so that you have plenty of time to order a copy for your family. This year my children will hear it again.
In this story they are reminded where the tales of this legendary figure really come from. They hear about a real man who gave to others when they needed it most; who gave in thankfulness to God for the great gift of His Son. They learn about a man who was persecuted for his faith, and who knew that the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation were necessary only because he was on the naughty list.
Yes, we will be hanging stockings and setting out cookies on Christmas Eve too. So, here’s the big question. When I’m asked if Santa Claus is real, what will I say? Maybe I’ll never be asked. Maybe my children will be too wrapped up in Luke 2 to care. But if (when) I’m asked, my response will go something like this...
Saint Nicholas is not a man who lives at the North Pole, but he was a man of God who was from what is now the country of
. He knew that Jesus came to save
creation from sin and he shared that news with others. He took care of his neighbors, but did so in
secret because that’s what the Word of God instructs us all to do. We continue what he began about 1700 years
ago, giving gifts to one other and to those in need, in secret, in celebration
of the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation that we have been given
through a baby born in Turkey . Bethlehem
Teach me how to balance the ideas that the world has of Christmas with the truth of your Word. Help me to honor the sacrifice of your Son in how I teach my children throughout this season. Thank you for the salvation my family has because of Him. In Jesus Name, Amen.
*I would encourage you to watch this too. It is an EXCELLENT video of Ken Klaus, who was the speaker of The Lutheran Hour for many years, sharing some really terrific information on Saint Nicholas.