Making room in the nativity?

I have one dilemma about Christmas that I will need to figure out in the next few years – what to do about Santa? When she is old enough to understand what we will tell baby? Being in a multi-cultural marriage we don’t have one common tradition – I grew up with Santa, hubby didn’t. I vividly remember the fear of meeting Santa on Christmas Eve – I had been told that if you see Santa he won’t leave you any gifts, a ploy designed to keep us in bed I assume. I remember trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night with my eyes screwed shut in case I should happen upon the big man! Hubby grew up with none of this.

The beauty of being in a multi-cultural family is that we can make new traditions – taking the best from both and doing things the Soko way. My question is – is Santa a tradition I would want to keep? I know society doesn’t let you easily give him up with pressure to ‘believe’ and not spoil the fun for others  – so, what to do? I really want to be a dealer in truth so that Nativity is central to Christmas – Jesus is the focus. So would we be making room for Santa in the nativity?

I remember a mum complaining that the lies she told to her children about Christmas came back to bite her one year. She had threatened the kids that if they misbehaved Santa would not bring them anything – it worked well until the Sunday a few weeks before Christmas when the church collected toys for the Salvation Army appeal. She asked her kids to spend some of their pocket money on toys for kids ‘who would not be getting anything this year’.  Her son quickly shot back – well if they hadn’t misbehaved they would be getting something. You can’t really argue with that!

I really don’t know how we will deal with this and are thankful to have a few years before baby would be old enough. Should we be balancing traditions that distract from the true meaning of Christmas with the Truth of Jesus’ rescue mission? The nativity is a picture illustration of truth and light:

John 1:4-9  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  6  There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.  8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  9  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Surely the truth that God loves us so much is so wonderful that that we don’t need to add anyone else to make it magical? How have you dealt with this dilemma? How do we best glorify God in our families at Christmas with our tradition?

Beholding Glory

7 Replies to “Making room in the nativity?”

  1. Tracy,
    I remember having that same concern about Santa. As my children grew older I began telling them that 1) Santa was someone who loved them very much, then as they got older I told them 2) That I am Santa, and even thought I played Santa, It was a lesson in undstanding Jesus who is real.

    He always sees you
    He wants to reward you
    He forgives
    He loves
    He knows your name
    He gives to others and only asks us to believe

    Santa is a way of explaining Jesus, to children in a way that they can understand, then as they begin to grow older they can show the love of Jesus to others by,

    Remembering names
    Telling others of His love
    Loving others the way He loves us.

    But I told my children that they needed to play the Santa game with me…because their dad didn’t know…that brings a laugh even to this day!

    Merry Christmas, my friend who is so far away!

  2. Maybe a lesson on Saint Nicholas is appropriate…I think much of the origin of Santa Claus stems from St. Nick himself, a man who made and distributed toys to children….
    Thanks for this thought provoking entry for all of us parents!
    God Bless and Merry Christmas!

  3. We always told our children that Santa is a game, and we can have fun visiting the store and sitting on his knee and telling him what we want for Christmas. They always received a candy cane afterwards and that was fun too.

  4. Never had that problem as I didn’t grow up thinking santa was real! I never told my son he was real either! Really, Santa Claus distracts from the real gift and message of Christmas! I guess he’s like the truth fairy. The kids know it’s a joke but they play along because they get something from it!

  5. We also shared the story of St Nick and encouraged the children to see who they could give gifts to that needed help or even just encouragement. …. we made kiss boxes for Jesus so the kids could fill it with their love and at even two years old they understood that they could give their hearts to Jesus. But we always celebrated with fun and the tree and stockings did not deter from the birthday of the King of kings. Instead of a gingerbread house we centered it around Christ and made a gingerbread Nativity… we made nativity puzzles and three humped camels for three kings though we shared there may have been many more… We wrapped ‘celebrating Jesus’ around every part of Christmas but never belittled others for celebrating differently. The focal point was Immanuel… God with us and all the love that brings. Giving generously to others in need with our service or finances was paramount…letting kids dream was also paramount…

  6. your picture with Santa at the manger was something my kids saw long ago and it warmed our hearts… He was always welcome at Christmas if that was where he bowed… thanks for sharing that photo! I just love it!

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