Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ho, Ho, Ho: Part Two

This post is a follow-up to Ho, Ho, Ho: Part One.

When I was in fourth grade, my classmate started hinting at the notion that Santa was not real. I didn’t want to believe it – but it planted the seed of doubt in my mind. Then I noticed the wrapping paper and handwriting of Santa was the same as my mom’s. Then I started planting the seed of doubt in my sister’s mind….if I was going down, she was coming with me! 

Ultimately, I had my first taste of making a choice about my convictions: stand by my beliefs, or question what I knew was truth. My faith was tested and tried. I attempted to bring others (i.e. my sister) into my doubt and hesitation. I was teased and mocked for my steadfast belief that Santa did, in fact, exist. It was up to me to decide if I would allow that seed of doubt to penetrate myself and others, or if I would remain steadfast in my convictions.

To me, belief in Santa is very much akin to belief in Jesus Christ. Now hear me on this: I do think it’s important to make a clear distinction between faith in Santa and faith in Jesus when a child gets to a certain age. Otherwise, the kid just might lump Jesus in with all other fictitious characters (Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa, etc.). And I do realize the outcome (Santa not actually being real) isn’t comparable to the outcome of Jesus. But how can we expect a child to understand faith in the unseen, joy in multiplied gifts, and the desire to do good works? How can they understand the concept of what faith produces if they have never experienced it? And how can we expect them to remain steadfast in their convictions when the pests of this world try to invade their thoughts and change their ideas? 

The answer: Santa. To deprive a child of experiencing the joy and faith of believing in something they cannot see actually deprives them of forming their first ability to experience the joy and fruit that comes from faith in the unseen and a desire to do good, even when the world tells us not to.

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