A few years ago, I wrote a misguided and somewhat scathing post on my personal blog about why I would probably not celebrate the mythical version of Santa Clause when I have kids. I ended up deleting the post for a number of reasons–I was arrogant in the way I made the argument and I also think I was overreacting. So what should Christians think about the Santa of the popular culture (i.e. the Santa who sneaks into people’s houses through their chimney delivering presents based on children’s good behavior)? And how should we talk to our children about him?
Sure Mark Driscoll says some silly things sometimes, but what about his thoughts on Santa? He says we have three options with the Santa story, “(1) we can reject it, (2) we can receive it, or (3) we can redeem it.” I think what he calls “redeeming” the Santa Story is actually simply telling the truth and attempting, as best we can, to recover and celebrate the true story of St. Nicholas.
Say what you will about Driscoll, but generally I think this is good advice and I appreciate that he does not cloud his argument by appealing to Christians not to miss the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t miss hear me, I am all for celebrating Christ’s birth (more importantly the incarnation), but the time in which we do that is rather arbitrary and not a Biblical issue (we should always be celebrating the incarnation). For Driscoll the issue boils down to telling the truth to their children. They teach their children not to lie and to always tell the truth. Driscoll sums their position up, “since we also teach our children that Jesus is a real person who did perform real miracles, our fear is that if we teach them fanciful, make-believe stories as truth, it could erode confidence in our truthfulness where it really matters.”
I am not going to tell anyone how to celebrate Christmas, but I will say that Driscoll’s simple explanation here makes sense to me and I appreciate that he makes his argument without starting some weird, unbiblical crusade against the secularization of Christmas.
What do you think? I know people have strong opinions about this, but is it justifiable to trick your children about things like Santa? Driscoll seems to be trying to help encourage his children’s imagination without lying to them–if anything I appreciate the struggle and the questions he is asking? Is he over-thinking this? I would love to hear your thoughts. I know people have strong opinions about this because after all we are talking about family traditions that go back a long time, but generally CAPC is a safe place to state your opinion, so let me know what you think.