There comes a time in all of our lives when we stop believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and monsters under the bed. It seems these days children find out sooner rather than later about Santa and a piece of their short childhood is stripped a way. But I wonder…..is that because they are smarter and learn faster or is it because we let the proverbial cat out of the bag. Is it because it is easier for us to have them know the truth? We want to be the first to let our kids know and then we won’t have to pretend anymore? We can pump ourselves up and say we were always honest with our kids….but at what cost?
Children want to believe. I remember when a friend of mine told me there was no Santa. I was devastated. Of course I was home in a flash and asked my parents. My wise and gracious mother informed me that there really wasn’t a man dressed in a red and white suit but that Santa was a spirit of Christmas. She explained that giving was part of Christmas and remembering Jesus. That Jesus was born and gave his life for us. We celebrate his life and his death and by him doing so, he gave us the promise of ever lasting life so that we could give.
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, asks that we help our fellow man and walk in trust and love. He also asks that we receive that love. Santa asks that we be good and gives us things. When the time came and we found out that there really isn’t a Santa and we realized that our parents were giving us all the gifts, did any of us stop to say thank you to them? How many of us took the time to actually say, “Thanks Mom and Dad. You made my Christmases so memorable. I don’t know how you did it.” I know that I forgot to do that little thing.
My mom told me that by believing in Santa, we became better people. We give to others so they can learn what receiving was about. We weren’t to give so we could get a present back, but to give unselfishly. Like Santa and Jesus. They never get back nor could we afford the cost if the truth be known. Anyway, I believed in Santa for a few more years and never regretted it. I let my children decide for themselves whether the jolly old man was real or not, although I admit, I did everything I could to perpetuate that custom and I never actually said there wasn’t a real Santa. And now I get to do the whole thing over with my grand babies. Children and Christmas….what a match !!!
We get so caught up in the season and it often seems that it gets longer. The stores start so early with decorations, TV advertisements abound, the requests for donations for food banks, homeless, and other less fortunate folk, the so called obligations for gatherings and parties, the rush, the roar and the constant “Jingle Bells” playing in our ears.
BREATH….Breath long and deep. Exhale. This isn’t a race. There are no winners. This is Christmas…the most wonderful holiday in the year. We have to slow down and remember it isn’t the cost of the gift…..it’s the thought. And if it isn’t….it should be. We need to teach that to our children too.
So do yourself a couple of favors this year. Enjoy Christmas again. Make it really the season of peace and good will. Make things simpler. Find the beauty and reason for the season. Keep the secret of Santa from the kids. Let them share in the wonderful gift of childhood for as long as they can and share the story of Christ. I mean isn’t that what Christmas is all about…...sharing? Oh..... and if you are lucky enough to still have your parents around…..remember to thank them too.