Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Further Thoughts on Santa Claus

I posted previously about Santa Claus here. But I wanted to say something else.

I recently found myself, as I see Cecilia light up at candy canes and Christmas Trees and reindeer and such, wishing there really was a Santa Claus. I caught myself thinking, wouldn't it be nice if.... Wouldn't we all like to have someone who watches over us and knows when we are good even if no one else does and knows how hard we try and wants us to be happy and is generous to us and makes us smile with that warm fatherly glance? Yes, it would be nice if there was a Santa Claus, but here is the thing. There really is someone better. God! We have a heavenly Father who does watch over us and knows when we are good even when no one else does and knows how hard we try and wants us to be happy and is immeasurably generous to us and does make us smile and looks down on us with a warm fatherly glance. Santa Claus is a nice idea, but someone better really exists and that someone does not just give us dolls and fire engines (sometimes He gives those too) but gives us His own Son for our Brother, our Redeemer, our Savior, and our Friend.

Now, that doesn't mean the idea of Santa Claus is bad. Obviously it is based on a good saint and reflects our Heavenly Father. Santa Claus imperfectly mirrors what is not just good, but great and holy. I think the big problem with Santa Claus is that he "comes around" on Christmas, when we should be gazing in awe at the gift our Heavenly Father has given us and allowing our souls to be illumined with Christmas Grace and Santa Claus shifts our focus, even if only a little it is too much, away from what is best to what is simply good.

But is it okay for the mirror to suffice for children? Personally, I don't see how. The story of the Nativity is so beautiful and so simple that children can understand and enjoy it even if they don't yet understand it's full significance.

So far Cecilia has seen cartoons and heard songs about Santa Claus. She has also seen cartoons and heard songs about Mickey Mouse. We haven't interceded and said anything about the reality of either. We will wait until she asks or maybe until she makes an assumption. In the meantime, we simply tell her that we are counting down to Christmas, which is Jesus' Birthday (she's been really gung-ho about birthdays since Mommy's in October and Felicity's in November). We will go over more of the actual story as Christmas gets closer.

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