When little Joshua opened his eyes it was still dark, yet he wasn’t tired. There was an excitement in him, an anticipation tingled in his skin. He could hardly stay still. He couldn’t wait for this day to begin. Yet he lay there in bed dreaming. You see, Joshua loved this day because of the special time he got to spend with those people who loved Him so much. He couldn’t help thinking about how they would show him love through the gifts, and the party, and, oh, the singing… More than anything, little Josh couldn’t wait for his Mom and Dad to come into his room to wake him up with a big hug and say, “Happy Birthday, Joshua! We love you so much!”
Now imagine if little Joshua wasn’t noticed on his birthday. Imagine if he was laying in bed, waiting for that birthday hug from Mom and Dad, but it never came. What if he went the whole day without hearing, “Happy birthday, We love you so much! We’re so happy you’re in our lives.” How do you think he’d feel?
Worse yet, imagine if Everyone threw Josh a huge amazing party. What if everyone in town showed up, they even sang some songs about him and hung his baby pictures up in their own homes, but the rest of the year, no one really talked to him? They never said, I love you even once.
They really didn’t notice him or pay any attention to him.
Imagine another scenario. What if Joshua was laying in bed waiting for his birthday greeting and hug from his family and he heard his parents voices from outside, and Joshua got up, went and opened his window to hear his parents and siblings praising the neighbor boy, Nick, telling him how great and special he was and how they were so thankful for him? What if, on Joshua’s birthday, he came down the stairs and saw the house decorated for a party, but It was his neighbor, Nick’s, name written on the banners and it was his pictures hung all over the house?
All these scenarios are true. There’s a poor little boy named Joshua or Jesus, who is forgotten about every year on his birthday. Sometimes his loved ones make a big deal of him for his birthday and forget him the rest of the year. Other members of his family show up to his party and say it’s only magical, special, and meaningful if Nicholas (Santa Claus) is there and so they talk about Nick , and tell stories and sing about him rather than the birthday boy.
The amazing thing is, because Christmas is about Jesus it’s about us as well. Imagine if little Josh, on his birthday, got up and was full of excitement, not because of what people would give him, but because of what he would give them. What if he gave all his presents away? Imagine if he spent his the entire day serving, and giving and loving others. Imagine if Joshua made his birthday all about everyone else.
On Christ’s birthday, he did just that.
On Christmas Jesus, the Son of God, didn’t receive gifts. Rather, he gave them. He gave us the greatest gift, Himself. He’s given us Love, joy, peace, and hope. Let’s make Christmas about him. In fact, because he’s so great and because all he’s done, lets make life about him as well.
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- Why I Won’t Be Teaching My Kids About Santa Clause
- Please Don’t Teach Your Kids About Santa
- 7 Ways To Be Missional This Christmas
Last week in the Core Group meeting for our church plant, we had a great conversation about Santa Claus. Obviously Santa is one of the most beloved and well-known characters in the West. Yet, should Christians teach their children about Santa? For my wife and I, we will not be teaching our daughter to believe in Santa for a few reasons:
- Christmas is about Jesus. It’s His birthday, not Santa Claus’. In fact, the word, “Santa Claus” actually comes from the Dutch word meaning St. Nicolas. He was a 3rd century Bishop of the Christian church in Myra Turkey. He was at the Council of Nicaea. He spent his life defending the faith and sharing his wealth with people in need. He was famous for following Jesus. Everything he did, all the gifts that he gave, was in response to the greatest gift he’d been given, eternal life through Jesus Christ. We should follow his example and make Jesus center of our Christmas season.
- Santa not only distracts from the greatest gift we have, eternal life in Jesus Christ, but it also distracts from the love of parents. I know many people who give 3 gifts from “Santa” and one or two from mom and dad. So the child grows up thinking that Santa loves them more than mom and dad. He gives bigger, better, or more gifts. Children don’t see how much they are blessed with the love of their parents, but rather their affection grows for someone else…who isnt’ even real.
- Teaching about Santa can damage the faith of our Children. Think about it. Many parents tell elaborate stories to their children about Santa. They have their kids leave out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve. Then in the morning, presents have appeared under the tree from “Santa.” The cookies and milk are gone. Some even go the extent of dressing up like Santa and visiting with the kids as the presents are delivered. Parents take their kids to the mall and they can meet Santa, tell him what they want, and it ends up being there on Christmas. What happens when the child finds out Santa isn’t real? How can we expect them to believe what we teach them about Jesus, who’ve they have never seen or talked to, when the Santa the had seen in the mall was a ruse?
Now I’m not saying get rid of anything that has to do with Santa. Nor am I telling you that you should teach your kids to crush the hope and dreams of their friends by proclaiming that Santa isn’t real.
Rather I am encouraging you to tell your children the truth. Don’t lie to them about something that distracts from the true meaning of Christmas.
I still enjoy Tim Allen’s “The Santa Claus” films and frosty and Rudolf films. I’ll tell my daughter that they are fun made up stories, but I’ll teach her about the real St. Nick and how he always pointed to Jesus. I’ll teach her that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. It’s all about Jesus. He is the greatest gift the world has ever received. So to celebrate that gift, we focus on Him and we give gifts to others, because we were given life through Jesus Christ.
If you are interested in learning more about the real St. Nicolas or about how the modern Santa Clause legends came about, visit the St. Nicolas Center’s website.
Concordia Publishing House sells a great book, Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend. It’s a great resources for teaching children about the real St. Nicholas.
There’s a new film coming out called Nicholas of Myra: The Story of St. Nicholas which looks to be a good quality film being made on the real St. Nick.
Have a Blessed Christmas!