It's true, letters to Santa and fabricated elf sightings may help your child to behave better for a few fleeting weeks, but what is being simultaneously sacrificed? Let us begin with the obvious answer: your child's trust. Why is it that parents, who demand the utmost in honesty and truthfulness from their children (and rightly so), suddenly adhere to a seasonal double-standard as regards mythical persons such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? There is no logical way to rationalize this, and it certainly cannot be justified from Scripture! So why are you lying to your children? What might be the consequences when you finally decide to share the truth? Perhaps your child may reason that if you lied about Santa, then you may have lied about other things...like Jesus Christ. While it's true that this may be an extreme response, it is nevertheless a very real danger. And what if you have more than one child? When the time comes to let your eldest in on the secret, will you ask him to lie to his sibling until such a time arrives for that child? Please think about this, parents. The consequences could extend far beyond what you can imagine.
Now, let's move beyond the *mere* moral and into the theological. Have you ever truly considered the attack that modern-day Santa Claus imposes upon the truths of biblical Christianity? Please don't dismiss my words here, because I do not believe that I am exaggerating. Several evenings ago, I caught a few minutes of a popular Christmas movie on television. What did I hear coming from the mouth of a child actor? "He's Santa. He's omniscient!" Really? Santa is omniscient? Perhaps I'm overreacting, but it seems to me that, as Christians, we ought to be grieved, angered, and even abhorred by the fact that one of God's great incommunicable attributes has been ascribed to an overweight, mythical elf. God alone is omniscient and, in spite of the fact that our modern-day Santa Claus is mere fiction, we ought not allow our children to believe that God shares such a holy characteristic with anyone or anything.
Compare the following to the ever-popular Christmas tune, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town:"
O LORD, you have searched me and known me!Wow, doesn't Scripture offer us a much better omniscient figure than does the world? And yet we still deceive our children, rationalizing that belief in Santa Claus is "just a part of childhood." In reality, we are depriving our precious children of a true celebration.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6)
Ponder further for a moment this fact: the modern-day idea of Santa Claus and his gift-giving runs entirely contrary to the Gospel. A "naughty" child is punished, while a "nice" child is rewarded. How confusing for our children! Do we not labor to teach them the Gospel, that it is through the work of Christ alone that we are saved, not by our own good works (Eph. 2:8-9)? Do we not desire for them to understand that righteous living is a result of a transformed heart, that good works are offered in gratitude and out of a longing to serve the God who has so graciously and undeservedly saved us? Is it not our wish that they would serve the Lord with good works not for what they may receive in return, but because they desire to do so? And yet, here comes Santa Claus, with his contrary message that reads far more like the legalism of the Pharisees than like the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Is it any wonder that so many people today are floundering in the belief that if they are a "good person" they will get to Heaven?!
Parents, is there any better story to tell your children this Christmas than this: that Jesus Christ was born to die? Is there any visitor more glorious than the One who humbled Himself two thousand years ago, entering this world in such a lonely and lowly state? Santa "loves" your children enough to bring them toys that will break. Jesus loved them enough to bleed and die that they may be spared from the eternal wrath of a holy God. How dare we think for even a moment that to deceive our children with the Santa Claus myth is nothing more than an innocent right of childhood!
I certainly am not seeking to tell you what to do in your own family. Even if that was my intention, I would hope that you would not listen to me, but rather would search the Scriptures and the Lord in prayer. Personally, I am not of the mind that Christians ought to ignore Christmas altogether. On the contrary, who in this world has more reason for celebration than those who have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ?! So let us enjoy the season, but let us not do so as the world would have us celebrate. Rather, let us rejoice as children of God, ever-mindful that all glory, praise and honor is due to Him forever and ever.