I almost ruined the childhood of about 20 kids on Sunday. During a sermon, I *almost* said Santa didn't exist. But I didn't. I made some passing remark about waiting for the gifts under the tree, and about knowing where the Christmas presents are hidden.
But I never actually said that Santa didn't exist.
The holly jolly man and myself never had a really close relationship. Don't know why, but Santa Claus was never a big part of my Christmas experience growing up. I remember being terrified of him when we went for pictures at the mall. The only gift I ever remember seeing under the tree from Santa was for Mom (thanks a lot Dad hahaha). All in all, I'd say Santa just doesn't do it for me. I can understand the point for other people, and I'm glad the whole idea of "Santa coming" adds wonder and excitement to the holidays, but he isn't who I'm expecting. And btw, this is not a Jesus versus Santa type conversation.
And before you go thinking I'm some kind of a bum-hum-bug, you should know I'll be dressing as an Elf (no stockings, I promise) for "Breakfast With Santa" at our church this Sunday! I'll ask the kids what they want from Santa (because he'll be about 30 feet from me, they need to prepare), if they've been good, etc.etc.etc.
One or two of the kids will realize who I am. I'm guessing four children will actually cry when they see me in my pointy hat and eye-scorching red/green outfit.
See? I love Christmas. And Santa.
Now that I'm married to a wonderful wife who enjoys the idea of Santa, the inevitable question arises - will I ruin the whole thing for my children one day? We were hanging ornaments on the tree last night and she took a Santa one and said, "I'll put this guy on the back of the tree" - When I asked why she said, "umm, I thought you didn't like him?"
Probably my favorite Christmas songs has a line that goes, "Santa knows we're all God's children, that makes everything right. So hang your stockings and say your prayers cause Santa Claus comes tonight." The irony really gets me. The melding of what is serious, true, and joyful meets the mythical, silly, and legendary. And yes, that's a beautiful thing. Because often people mix what is factual in life with what they hope for. This isn't uncommon, just a bit hypocritical if you ask me when you can't do that in some areas of life but you can in others. Why can't I feel a tinge of awkwardness when the same people who profess a literal translation of the Bible (That's just what it says!! six 24 hour days!) later encourage their children to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.
I have to be careful. Maybe I need to lighten up because I'm taking a lot of heat this Christmas. I'll probably get coal.