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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Is Santa God?
In this day and age, there are way too many Christian parents leading their children to believe in things that do not exist or things they should not believe in. Christian children believe that they should celebrate Halloween, which is clearly rooted in celebration of the dead. Then there is the belief in Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas. A man more widely admired and idolized by children than the true father of Christmas, God. Children have more faith in Santa Claus than they do in God. So, the question is: is Christmas a celebration of Santa’s gifts or a celebration of God’s son, Jesus? The answer is… both. At least that’s what Christian children believe.
This issue may not seem like a big deal because, after all, “they’re young. They’ll learn later on that Santa isn’t real.” Or how about, “They’re too young to know that Santa doesn’t exist”? Too young to know the truth?
Okay… Psychologist Erik Erikson derived his stages of personality from Sigmund Freud’s studies. Toddlers go through a stage of autonomy versus shame and doubt. Their significant relationship is that of their caregivers. Their psychological modality is to let go or to hold on to whatever their caregivers lead them to believe. At the age of two, children are exploring the world around them. Their goal is to control their lives by determining what foods they eat, what toys they play with and what clothes they wear. Their virtues are will power and determinism.
The third psychosocial stage occurs during preschool years (ages 3 to 5). The fourth stage occurs approximately between 5 and 11, early school years. The child’s significant relationship moves from their caregivers to their other relatives and their peers. Their psychological modality then becomes the will to complete things, or to make things come together. At this point, the child is exerting control over their environment through the social process. They begin comparing themselves and their self-worth to others, especially to their friends.
The fourth stage is when children begin trying to clarify the things they believe in. It’s also the stage when many children believe in myths and fantasies, such as our friend, Mr. Claus. At this stage in life, Christian children tend to begin questioning religion and faith. They ask questions such as, “If there is a God, how come we can’t see Him”? During this stage, many children also find out that myths and fantasies that the believed in before is, in fact, not true.
What is the point of all this psychological insight? You’ll soon know. Leading children to believe in Santa Claus is—let’s face it—a lie. As Christians, what do we constantly stress to our children about what not to do? Lie, right? Okay, moving along… Not only are they believing a lie, but believing in a higher power other than God or as high as God. Santa knows when they’re sleeping, when they’re awake, if they’ve been bad or good. Hmm… sounds a lot like God to me. Santa writes their good and bad deeds on a list. Also sounds quite familiar. Because of Santa, children are good during the Christmas season. Not because mom and dad said to be good, or that God wants them to be good, but because they want to get gifts from Santa.
Which leads me to another point. Gifts! Christmas is all about giving. We give to our family and friends in commemoration of the gifts that were brought to Jesus following his birth. Gift-giving teaches children to be grateful because they’re receiving gifts from people who sacrificed time and money to purchase it for them. They also learn to be benevolent by giving gifts. If Santa brings all the gifts then there’s no need to be grateful to real people. And there’s surely no need to give to anyone else. Santa can take care of that.
Every year, my five-year old cousin donates some of her used toys to children in need. In addition to that, her mother takes her to the store to purchase something affordable for children less fortunate. That is true spirit of Christmas. That is what Christians should teach their children. My cousin has never believed in Santa, just as I have never believed in Santa. She always knew that her mommy, daddy, and aunty bought presents for her, not just because she was good but because they love her. Knowing that, she has the desire to buy them gifts as well (even if it’s just a card or a little teddy bear from the dollar store).
What's the Point?
My mother told me that God was Santa and that He watched over me when I was asleep and awake. She told me that if God saw that I deserved to get gifts for Christmas, He would make it possible and enable her to buy gifts for me. I knew that God was always watching over me. Not just during the holiday time. When I think back to my childhood, I realize that I was never led to believe in fairytales such as Santa Claus. My mother told me that she was the tooth fairy, she told me that there was no big bunny that gave eggs around Easter and I never celebrated Halloween. These beliefs were never something I was “deprived of” because the lack of these false beliefs was just how life was supposed to be, as far as I was concerned. I knew that other children believed in Santa and I laughed at the thought in my head but it never made me feel bad.
I understand that parents want to keep a certain level of innocence in their children. I understand that other children in the child’s class may believe in Santa but there’s a simple solution for that. My mother explained to me when I was very young that some parents tell their children that there is a Santa just to make them feel better, or something along those lines.
The reason I make such a big deal of this seemingly-small Santa issue is because I’ve seen the effects of children believing in Santa. They get older and begin to realize that the whole Santa theory doesn’t make logical sense. After all, how can a man who isn’t God travel around the entire world in one night. And reindeer are real but has anyone ever saw one fly? Besides, reindeer don’t have wings. Hello! Once children discover that Santa isn’t real, often they feel betrayed and deceived by their parents. They feel as though their lives have all been a lie and they begin to question other things, such as God for example. This jeopardizes the child’s trust in his/her parents. It really does. Some children take it better than others but why risk it? Children these days are extremely melodramatic; chances are they would over-react and truly, truly believe that they were betrayed.
To conclude, I’m not telling anyone how to raise their children. How could I when I don’t have children myself? I’ll be way out of line to do that. I’m simply laying down the facts from a moral and psychological point of view. I’ve known all my life that Santa wasn’t real but I always found it interesting and amusing that there’s a fake man who supposedly gives gifts to the world. It is a nice thought, isn’t it?
Does Teaching Your Kids to Believe in Santa Clause Make You a Liar?
Article by Kat Rice Williams describing her personal experience with the belief in Santa Claus.