Santa Claus And Christians
As a minister, every time I have been presented with the question about whether Christian households should allow their young children to “believe” in Satna Claus, there is one driving force behind it. Religious parents are concerned that when the children do eventually find out that Santa Claus is a myth, it will cause them to also question whether belief in God and Jesus is also a myth.
In my experience, this is not in any way a cause for alarm. Actually, I have witnessed the opposite reaction. The overwhelming majority of the young people I have interacted with regarding the subject tended to see as a positive that at a certain age they were allowed in on some of the secrets kept by adults. This is seen by them as a rite of passage into (young) adulthood. It does not cause children to question whether their whole life has been a lie as some seem to fear it will.
As they mature, children understand they are exposed to more and more of the realities of adulthood – learning the truth about Santa, having the talk about where babies come from, being able to legally drive, being able to legally drink alcohol, etc. In fact, the issue about whether learning Santa is not real will cause their world to come crashing down around them is totally misplaced. But there is a similar issue about which Christian parents probably do not show enough concern.
The point children reach in their lives when they learn the truth about Santa and the birds and the bees is also a critical juncture for their faith. In this regard, children learn a great deal more from imitating the adults around them than they do from the lessons they hear in Sunday School. As they, in their growing maturity, learn to set aside Santa Claus, are they also being taught that church is just a ritual performed by adults or do they begin to truly see that the Christian faith is an all-encompassing, life-changing belief?
If, as they age, children see the same selfish-driven greed and lust they see in the rest of the world in the actions of the people they know who claim to be Christians, they are much more likely to write off faith as a game played by adults rather than an earnest lifestyle to be embraced. If, however, at the age when the world is beginning to open up to them, they witness Christians around them living out a life-changing faith, their own spiritual roots will be strengthened.
I believe the real question for Christian parents is not whether allowing Santa to be part of your Christmas practices will harm your child’s faith but whether you are setting a living example of real life change through Christ as your kids journey into adulthood.
Andy’s book, Clear Vision: How The Bible Teaches Us To View The World, can be purchased here.