Monday, November 28, 2011

Childhood, Reality and Reverence

Okay, we finished Thanksgiving.  In my mind that means it is Christmas.  I love Christmas, but one aspect of it has been a source of controversy among christians for years.  All christians know that Christmas is the celebration of Christ's birth.  Each can tell you that Christ chose to be born of woman so he could understand what man faced every day.  He chose to die on the cross to save man from his sins and the consequences of that sin.  So what is the controversy?  Allowing children to believe in Santa Claus.  The question is: does allowing a small child to believe that a fat man in a red suit drives a sleigh driven by flying reindeer every Christmas eve delivering toys to good children, diminish their reverence of the holiday.  Yes that is a long question and could have been said much more succinctly, and now that I have your attention, I will.  Does the belief of Santa Claus impede the child's reverence of Christmas?

I am well aware that the world--especially marketing--has taken Christ out of Christmas.  Now how do we as christians celebrate the holiday?  I allowed my children to believe in Santa Claus.  Why? Because it is a fantasy enjoyed by children for, at the most, three years.  If a child lives out his life expectance, he will be on this earth at least 70 years.  That is 70 years of reality.  Reality is not nice most of the time. What is wrong with allowing him three years of fantasy? 

Was Christ emphasized in our home?  Absolutely.  My children knew that we celebrated the birth of Christ on Christmas.  But for just a little while, they believed that to celebrate the gift God sent to us, Santa Claus brings gifts to children on Christmas eve just as the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus.  Eventually, they grew up enough to realize the absurdity of a fat man in a red suit driving a sleigh driven by flying reindeer delivering toys to good children over the entire world in one night.  However, they never outgrew the idea of Christ being born in a manager and 33 years later dying on the cross for our salvation. 

Some families celebrate Santa Claus only.  Some believe that celebrating Santa Claus will not teach a child the true meaning of the holiday and celebrate Christ only.  At our house, we celebrated Santa Claus and Christ.  I would like to take a poll over the next few days and find out what you think.  On the right side of this post, you will find a poll.  Please check whether your home celebrated with or without Santa Claus and how your childhood beliefs impacted your view of Christ.

Please take time to complete this poll.  There is no way for anyone--including myself--to know who you are.  We are just interested in how the majority of Christians celebrate the holiday.
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