Monday, February 01, 2021

Anonymous Asks (130)

“Should children be told Santa is fake?”

We can probably include the tooth fairy in this conversation as well. I think it’s fairly clear that if you pick up a Hebrew or Greek concordance, you will have great difficulty locating an equivalent for either “Santa” or “fairy”. The Bible does not address such questions directly.

So, I am trying to think back to my own childhood in a Christian home, asking myself how my parents handled this ...

Down the Non-Existent Chimney

To be honest, I can’t remember any significant discussion of Santa Claus in our home when I was a boy. I cannot remember a single moment when I ever believed Santa Claus was real, let alone a deeply disillusioning incident where I came home from primary school, little round head full of fanciful notions of a fat man in red sliding down our non-existent chimney and bringing gifts for all good little boys and girls, only to find my fondest hopes and dreams dashed by a callous, tear-jerking reality check from hard-hearted fundamentalist parents.

No, when I pay a hazy visit to my childhood memory bank, there is only a drowsy momentary half-glimpse of my dad in his dressing gown, sleep in his eyes and hair tousled, sneaking a pillow case full of goodies onto the bottom of our bunks in the middle of the night after I and my siblings had once again proved hopeless at keeping each other awake so we could catch him at it.

Believe in God? Definitely. Dad? You bet. Santa? Not a chance.

Child Abuse

Was I abused? You tell me. Frankly, I’m glad nobody ever tried to pull the wool over my eyes in that respect. If there was ever any talk of Santa in our home, it was very much tongue in cheek. Nobody was fooling anyone.

I also cannot recall a single time either my father or mother ever told a falsehood to their children which we later discovered, or even allowed one to be perpetuated in their presence. Not one. Concealing information on subjects we were too young to be thinking about, or refusing to answer questions we asked about other people’s business, sure. But lies? Never.

I am not sure what purpose the Santa Claus myth serves in our culture, but I cannot bring myself to believe it’s a helpful one. Christian parents have enough work to do living consistently and teaching the Bible faithfully so that perhaps, hope against hope, their children may come to believe in a Father in heaven whose existence we cannot prove in a lab, and who is better experienced personally than theorized about in a classroom. Why would they add to their burden the obligation of inculcating or perpetuating belief in a chubby, benevolent myth that will invariably lead to disappointment and cause their own children to question their honesty? Why would they put glorious truth on the level of secular fabrication?

Identifying the Problem

Christian parents are also tasked with the difficult job of modeling Christ for their offspring. Believe me, I’ve found that one tough sledding. But I don’t see in the gospel accounts a single hint that a lie ever crossed the Lord’s lips, and every indication from the later theological writings of the apostles that such a thing was absolutely impossible. Jesus of Nazareth knew no sin. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth, not even pretty lies. In this he was just like his Father. God not only does not make a habit of lying, but telling a falsehood is utterly antithetical to the divine nature. There are no such things as white lies, and no mealy-mouthed prevarications that serve the “greater good”.

“But if I don’t allow my children to believe in Santa Claus, they won’t be like their peers. They’ll be ... *ugh* ... different!”

Yes, and the problem with that would be what exactly? We are trying, I hope, to raise a generation of discerning, sharp-eyed realists who can tell the difference between the world as it is and the nonsense the media is constantly spoon-feeding us; kids who are wise to the incoherence and deviousness of the evolutionists, to the higher critics of scripture, to their midwit teachers who simply repeat what they have read uncritically, to the sceptics, to the blasphemers, to the fake-caring Left, the phony conservatives, and the crazy communists, to the Hollywood hellmouth, to the religious pretenders, and to the slavering political animals who are everywhere around us; kids who know right from wrong and the lies of the devil from the truth of God.

Why would ever we say a single thing to our children that might subvert our mission? If we do, we are fools working at cross-purposes to our own best intentions.

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