Many can remember the excitement surrounding Christmas Eve that prevented them from falling asleep in hopes of catching a view of Santa. Others grew up in a home that vehemently denied the existence of the mystical creature known as Santa Claus. This season always breeds the curious rumblings among Christian households that suggest letting children believe in Santa is wrong and it somehow undermines the Nativity story. Allowing children to believe that good behavior earns gifts makes them greedy, superficial, or agnostic. Does Santa have a place in the Christian’s celebration of Christmas?
For some, the characteristics of this mythical man mirror those of Jesus in such a way that makes them uncomfortable. God is the only being that sees and knows all and to attribute these qualities to a fat man in a red suit is viewed by them as blasphemous.
He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.
Could it be that far too often, a child’s faith in Santa Claus is more powerful than their Christian parent’s faith in God? Although some believe the title Santa is an anagram for Satan, the name is derived from the Latin word Sanctus, meaning holy or saint. The message of Santa Claus includes Christian values such as forgiveness, generosity, and kindness. Children learn that even if they have not been “perfect” all year, Santa still stops by to bring gifts. No, Santa was not one of Christ’s disciples, but this should not determine his ability to participate or shed light in the Christian’s celebration of Christmas.
Many times Jesus used parables to point out a truth and to make his message come alive in the minds of his audience. Why would he crucify parents for doing the same with their children? Of course, focusing solely on Santa void of the true message of Christ is a conflict of interest, but allowing children to embrace this fictional character as youngsters afford them the opportunity to experience the effects of grace or unmerited favor. Santa teaches a child that even though they may have missed the mark at times or acted in an unfavorable way, love can handle their mistakes and covers the shortcomings of humanity.
Although many adults have grown too old for fairy tales, it seems they have failed to understand their significance in the learning process. In fact, to rob a child of the power of their imagination is to hinder their ability to glean truth from a made-up story. Santa allows them to believe for now, even if only for a short time, and later, to understand metaphor and symbolism.
Christmas is the day people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, the one who brought the world the best gift of all: eternal life. Yes, children from Christian homes need to know that Christmas celebrates the Son of God’s arrival to earth. However, other Christmas traditions such as decorations, Christmas trees, and even Santa, can enrich the wonder of the season.
God created humanity with the gift of imagination and hardwired his children to connect deeply with stories. Jesus himself appealed to the imagination by telling stories that communicated profound truths known as parables. It seems the thing that bothers Christians about the Christmas tradition more than anything else is the Santa Claus custom. Does Santa have a place in the Christian’s celebration of Christmas? Many will disagree, but of course, he does! Allowing children to believe in Santa Claus does not interfere with teaching them about Jesus. By using the myth of a loving person who brings gifts, they did not earn, allows them to experience a parable or principle they can understand fully when they grow older.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Christianity: Is it Immoral to Allow Children to Believe in Santa Claus
Top Image Courtesy of Visit Lakeland – Flickr License
Inline and Featured Image Courtesy of Matti Mattila – Flickr License