Today, as I was reading Foxnews.com, I came across this story: "'Why Believe in a God' Ad Campaign Launches on DC Buses". According to Fox News, "Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday."
Ok, seriously. Don't these people have anything better to do? What is so strange is that these people have forgotten the whole meaning behind Christmas. For them, it has become a complete commercialization. It is totally about gifts. I mean, without CHRIST, there would be no CHRISTmas.
This brings me to the Great Santa Debate. I know this isn't specifically what the story is about, but it came to mind when I saw the story. You see, until Channing and I joined Church of the Highlands (greatest church ever!) and came into contact with some people who didn't do Santa, I had never thought twice about doing it. My mom did Santa with my brother and me when we were growing up, and I LOVED it. I absolutely loved the anticipation of Santa coming, leaving out cookies, seeing what he left the next morning, the whole shabang. It was awesome! And I totally planned on continuing the tradition.
I found out that my mom was Santa at a pretty early age, thanks to my brother. I mean, how could he let me continue on in bliss if he knew that Santa didn't truly exist? That just wouldn't be fair. Then, that was that. The mystery was solved. My mom was Santa. I don't remember it being a huge deal. However, I have a friend who said that she was "devastated" to find out that her parents had lied to her. For that reason, among many others that are even more important to her and her husband, her family does not do Santa. I totally respect that.
When I first learned that people didn't do Santa, people other than Jehovah's Witnesses, I was shocked. It was just such a foreign idea to me. Hearing their reasons, the following being the most common, gave me some things to consider:
- Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa. When you focus on Santa, it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas.
- You are lying to your children. When they find out that you've lied about Santa, they may assume you're lying about Jesus too.
- You are lying to your kids. Period.
The first year Channing and I did this, I think Tristan was 2 1/2 (he could have been younger. Time kind of runs together for me). People were asking him left and right what Santa was going to bring him for Christmas. The kid didn't even know who Santa was, and I had no idea how to handle it. I didn't want to make those people feel bad. Most times, Tristan would look at them with a puzzled face, and I would just list some things he was asking for. When I was with friends who were adamantly opposed to all things Santa, I never knew what to say. I didn't want to seem less-than, like I didn't love Jesus and focus on Him at Christmas. During those times, I would politely say, "We don't do Santa."
I was never comfortable. I was doing (not doing, actually) something because it was something others expected of me, rather than what I felt in my heart. I went through the same thing with Easter and Halloween. Finally one day, Channing and I had a heart to heart and shared our feelings with each other about how we felt about Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, our priorities, and how we wanted to handle the holidays.
Based on our discussion, we decided that we didn't want to cut Santa totally out of our Christmas. We had always made sure to make Jesus the center of our season, and just because we used Santa decorations and sang Santa songs, we were not, in any way, taking away from the reason for the season (we didn't feel we were anyway). We still don't totally do the whole Santa thing. We have explained to Tristan the story of Santa Claus. We take pictures with Santa and watch Santa movies. We watch nativity movies. We sing Santa songs. We sing Christmas hymns. We just don't tell him that Santa is bringing him a Batman car for Christmas. We don't make a huge deal about that part of Santa.
That is the decision we made for our family. We realize that every family handles Christmas differently, and we totally respect that, and we also appreciate when people respect what we have chosen. There are SO many ways that people handle it, and I hope that Tristan doesn't ruin it for anyone else. Today at work, Asher and Tristan were watching a Wiggles Christmas DVD, and a little boy said, "Santa's not real!" This upset Tristan, and I had to remind him about Santa. It hurt me, though. I know kids tongues can't be controlled, and that according to the Bible, "No one can tame the tongue", but I wish everyone mutually respected other family's decisions.
Philippians 2:4 says, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." This is one of those areas for me. I have friends who gung-ho do the whole Santa thing. I would LOVE to do it too. I understand their reasoning and can justify it. For us, though, Channing and I have agreed not to completely commit. I want their kids to enjoy it, though. I don't want my boys ruining their fun tradition.
It's funny, though, in talking to people, how many people do Santa but don't tell anyone for fear of judgment. They don't want other people whispering about them behind their backs. The same goes with Halloween. I just laugh at the things I hear when people describe their Halloween nights to Christian friends:
"We just trick-or-treat a tiny bit."
"We don't do Halloween. The kids just dress up in costumes and visit the neighbors on my street."
I think it is so funny, yet so sad. So many of us, as Christians, mold so much of what we do, not based on what we've read in the Bible, but based on what our Christian friends are doing. We're constantly looking over our shoulders to make sure no one thinks bad of us. You know what? I am over it (in the nicest way possible) :). I am here to please One...Jehovah God. I am trying my best not to justify my actions to everyone anymore. I'm trying not to let others' opinions of me rule what I do. I want to live for God and to please Him. Tough lesson for me, but through my study on "The Bait of Satan", I am growing. I have LONG way to go, though!!!
A little disclaimer, The Bait of Satan in no way addresses The Great Santa Debate.
So this Christmas season, make sure you put JESUS FIRST, and the rest, go with your convictions. I mean, 90% of Christians call Resurrection Day, Easter, and the title "Easter" came from a pagan goddess. So, I mean, come on. Let's spend this season focusing on what is most important and not judging others and not worrying about what others think about our holiday traditions.
Ok, that's my piece. You got anything? What does your family do? Are you scared to share? As Christmas gets closer, I'll be sharing some of our family traditions. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!