Recently, we broke the news to my 6 year old daughter, and consequently my 3 year old son about Santa. The topic had long been a debate between my hubby and I as to whether we should continue the Santa thing, or let go of it and fully embrace the Christmas season for what it is truly about, Jesus' birth.
This has not been an easy choice. Not one in the least. Every year we decided to try and do both, and in my eyes at least, it was without much success. The struggle to keep Christ the focus of the holiday was always out weighed by the sparkle in our child's eyes for Santa and what he could bring them. My heart broke every time they said "Santa needs to bring us...." followed by some obscure toy that would usually break within a week of purchase or get thrown to the sidelines. Christ was obviously not their focus, no matter how many times we said, "Christmas is about Jesus' birthday."
The topic of question this season, again, was should we tell our daughter the truth about Santa?
The answer was still the same....how would we do it without breaking the poor child's heart?
The opportunity presented itself in an unexpected way, as is usually the case with God. Everything is unexpected and unusual.
My daughter, son and I were sitting around the table eating dinner. My husband had to work. My daughter brought up that Santa had been the topic of discussion on the kindergarten playground that day, and that while she was all about the jolly fat man, she told her classmates that "Christmas is about Jesus." It's wonderful sometimes to hear my words come back at me out of their mouths. It means that maybe, once in a while, they do hear me.
The playground discussion got turned a bit on my sweet 6 year old, and she came home with one question, was Santa real?
I sat listening to her tell me this story, and I couldn't help but feel that the time had come to give her the truth.
So I did.
I killed Santa Claus.
I asked her a question: After you've opened all your gifts on Christmas morning, does it matter to you who they came from?
While the answer was no, there were still a few tears. Which broke my heart. In the meantime, my sweet 3 year old is standing at the tree telling me that Santa is real.
Then we sat down and talked, again, about the birth of Jesus, and about what part daddy and I played in regards to Santa. Once they both came to an understanding of what I really was trying to get across, and after a zillion questions, they seemed to be okay with things.
Then, about 3 days later, I read this article by Mark Driscoll about what he tells his kids about Santa, and I realized, that Santa could be a part of Christmas, without making him the only reason for Christmas.
So we started discussing Saint Nicholas and what he did to become so influential during the Christmas season.
In retrospect, is what I did right? For us, I think so. Does it break my heart a little? Sure. Is the "magic" of the holiday lost from our home forever. Not hardly. My children still speak of Christmas, and of Saint Nick. About how the individuals at the mall are trying to help others remember the kindness that he showed others, all in the name of Christ. But that Christ gave the greatest gift of all, and that His birth marked the beginning of a new way of life for all of us.
I hope that your Christmas season is blessed this season, and that you too can keep your focus on Him.