I've had a few discussions lately about the Christmas celebration and how Santa fits into all of that. Given the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, many people are shying away from recognizing Santa at all, so as not to deter from the reason for the season. Although I'm completely for lessening the commercialization of Christmas, I've struggled with how to fit Santa amongst the season. I posed this question to my fellow blogger, Katrina, who has an excellent post on the Santa issue. If you are a parent, this post is truly helpful in determining what to do.
I'll preface my thoughts here by saying that no matter where you fall on this issue, I respect your choice. It has taken me days to really think through how I feel, and, given that I'm not a parent, it's not an extremely pressing issue in my household.
I was raised in a Christian home by parents who told me the Christmas story and why we celebrate Christmas at all. At the same time, I wrote letters to Santa, set out cookies and milk for him, and anxiously awaited Christmas morning. I loved all the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials that ranged from the story of Rudolph to Nestor, the long-eared donkey, that protected Mary and Joseph as they traveled into Bethlehem. I don't remember how old I was when I discovered there was no Santa - but it wasn't revealed to me by my parents or anyone else - I think I just figured it out. I do remember that I played along with the Santa idea for a couple of more years so as not to disappoint my parents.
Believing in Santa didn't damage me for life. Nor did it keep me from understanding the true meaning of Christmas. I decided to give my life to Christ at the young age of 8 years old - and the Santa dilemma never confused that decision for me. In fact, as I reflect on things, I think believing in Santa and realizing who Santa was, made me trust and believe in Jesus that much more.
Santa really couldn't see me all the time, and he didn't know if I was naughty or nice. But, Jesus is with me all the time, and not only sees if I'm naughty or nice, He knows the evil things I think at times. Santa always seemed to get me everything on my list - or most everything - that I asked for. Jesus isn't Santa, but He gives me all that I need, when I need it - and sometimes without asking. And when the Barbie Townhouse fell down two weeks after Christmas, or the next big gift came along, the gift of blessings from Jesus were priceless and timeless.
When Christmas Eve would come, I could barely sleep, knowing that Santa was coming. Of course, the moment I fell asleep, he would creep in and fill my stocking and eat my cookies. I couldn't wait for Christmas morning to get here. One day, Jesus will come back, and oh how I wish each night as I lay my head on my pillow I got so excited about His Return that I could barely sleep. And, when He comes that glorious morning, I won't just awake to an empty tray of cookies or presents piled beneath a tree, I'll see my Savior face to face. Now, that's the best Christmas present ever.