Last Christmas, I shared with you the history of the holiday we call “Christmas”.
In that post, I also discussed the Santa Claus myth, and my personal opinion on the issue of teaching young children to believe in that myth.
In short, I believe it’s wrong to teach your children to believe in a lie, but my concerns transcend that simple moral, though I believe that alone should be enough to convince believers not to engage in this kind of behavior.
No, the problem of Santa goes deeper and further than this, but it has little to do with Santa Claus himself, and more to do with people’s view of God.
Myths are great, IF they have a scent of the “true myth” (as Tolkien called it) of the Gospel. This is what makes myths like the Chronicles of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings so wonderful. They were written by Christians and contain a scent (sometimes much more than a scent) of the true myth of the Gospel, the very real and true story of Jesus Christ the Hero.
Of course, none of us are teaching kids that Narnia really exists and they might be able to reach it through an old wardrobe, but I digress.
What makes the Santa myth so terrible and dangerous is that, quite apart from having a scent of the true myth of the Gospel, it is totally in opposition to it.
Rather than write more, let me share a video with you that explains what I mean in a short, catchy poem.
So now you see what I mean. The Santa myth is a false gospel. Children, especially in the ages we are dealing with, are so very impressionable. Maybe when they discover you lied to them about a false god when they turn 7, or 8, or whatever, they will understand and move on. But the underlying message, that of merit, entitlement, and materialism, will likely remain, if only beneath the surface.
Believers say without Santa Claus, Christmas loses its magic and mystery for kids. The mystery and power of Jesus Christ are not enough? If that is true for you, then you are forgetting your first Love. We must never lose the wonder of the Cross. Besides, there are much better ways to do fun Christmas things with kids. Like the Jesse Tree, among others. Shoot, tell them about the REAL St. Nick, he was one awesome guy!