Her eyes looked into mine and she wanted an honest answer! “Mom, is Santa real?… Or is he pretend?”
It felt like a major life question. To her it was. She didn’t just want the same old answers. She wanted the truth. I don’t remember how old she was at the time. She was probably between 8 and10. (I say that because I remember the house where we lived at the time.)
Our family talked about Santa at Christmas, but he wasn’t the main feature. We had stockings. We gave gifts to each other. We didn’t go out of our way to make our children believe in Santa. But if they wanted to, it wasn’t difficult.
Our goal was to have the Biblical aspects of Christmas be more at the forefront. We read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, often after a church service. Then we had pizza and read the original Christmas story in Luke followed by the opening of presents. On Christmas morning, stockings were opened by the children and they received their biggest present.
I was raised in a home that was decidedly anti-Santa. Well, except for my nearby grandparents. They often labeled some of our gifts as being from Santa! I didn’t think the anti-Santa contortions were really worth all the negativity. We wanted the giving side of Christmas to be a part of our emphasis with our children. Too much Santa often seemed to preclude that.
Pretend vs. Reality
I paused and took a deep breath, the first of many to come! “He is pretend.” We talked about how Santa belongs in the world of fairy tales and pretend, not the world of truth and reality. It is still a wonderful place, the Land of Pretend. We just need to know when we are there.
The Jesus we talk about at Christmas belongs to the World of Reality. That is why he came. We and our world are broken in ways we often don’t realize. He came to make new creations in the middle of that brokenness. Coming to earth in human form was the first part of the process.
He was God Incarnate, the WORD made flesh. He was GOD, with skin on.
We celebrate His coming at this time of year. He gave His Son…and the Son of God willingly came! He was not some passive, lazy “son” who had no skills. Saying someone is “the son of …” means they are the embodiment of that attribute. In this case, He was the embodiment of GOD. He was an equal part of the Godhead.
He was as involved in the decision to become human as God the Father and God the Spirit were. Jesus set aside all the glories of heaven voluntarily, the privileges of His position, the perfection of the fellowship and worship there…He left it all behind. He knew what was ahead, yet He still came!
Redemption…from the brokenness of the Fall
Why? So He could redeem His people. In my wildest imagination, the contrast of His two lives is difficult for me to fathom!
“He came to His own, but His own people did not receive Him.
But to as many as received Him, who believe on His name, He gave eternal life!”
Think of what a difference His coming made for us. Talk about reality! This is a reality at the very gut-level of life.
The true Christmas story is about Jesus, who came to earth so we could live without sin, guilt, fear in this world. So we would be able to change! We can have hope for a glorious future in the next. Life in a world where there is no sin or death or pain or fear or darkness of any kind. If we are in Christ, that is what we can look forward to because He came.
No, I didn’t tell her all of that on the same day! I answered her question and she went on her merry way.
Christ showed us the Gospel along with His teaching
But over the years, through us and people in our churches and the many relationships she formed; school teachers, family friends, others God placed in her life, she learned about the true Christmas Story.
None of us have done it perfectly, either in our words or actions, but God has been gracious. He has opened her spiritual eyes and those of each of her sisters. She learned by hearing and seeing the lives of these people. She saw God change their lives. She saw His power at work in her own life. Now she tells her children the same story of Christmas. It is the real, true story. In case you were wondering, she tells fairy tales too!
What is your response to what Christ has done?
Mine is: Hallelujah!
Just like that of Handel as he wrote the Hallelujah Chorus from MESSIAH. Join me!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world has become
The Kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign forever and ever.
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Because of what Christ did in coming to earth to show us the gospel,
we have hope for the present…and the future!
first posted 12/6/11. re-edited and reposted 12/3/12 and 12/6/13 by Martha G. Brady
updated 12/4.21 by Martha G. Brady