Wednesday, December 16, 2009
St. Nicholas, I Presume?
Turn your kids away from the screen if you don't want me to ruin their Christmas.
My kids know the truth.
However, they also know enough not to go around shouting at the top of their lungs that Santa isn't real. So your secret is safe.
We have never been a Santa household. Early on, George and I chose to focus on St. Nicholas with the children, rather than the fictional Santa who "knows if you've been bad or good" and gives out gifts or coal accordingly. The conditional love of Santa just never jived with us. "But", you say, "he's all jolly, and loves children. What's the big deal whether the children believe in Santa or not?"
It may not be a big deal to you, but it is to us.
A wise, wise friend once shared with me that we give our children gifts because we love them. Not because they are good.
The same is true of Jesus.
Did He give us the gift of forgiveness and grace because we are good?
He gave us the gift of His very own life because HE LOVES US.
His love is not based upon WHAT WE DO, but rather WHO HE IS.
I never want my children to think they must earn gifts. Whether it be Playmobile, or, well, Salvation.
Yes, they can earn rewards by working hard, completing their chores, and giving their best effort, but gifts are something completely different.
I give my children gifts because I love them. Just as God gave us the incredible gift of His son because of His great love for us.
I took Zane to a local toy store today to meet St. Nicholas. Not Santa. Ask the owner. You may call him Santa, but she referred to him as St. Nicholas. That's what drew me.
"Zane, would you like to meet St. Nicholas?"
"No, St. Nicholas."
"The real one?"
Trying to keep things simple here.
"Well, not exactly. The real one lived long ago, but this man is like a symbol of the real St. Nicholas who gave to the poor."
Zane approached him cautiously. They shook hands. St. Nicholas never asked what Zane wanted for Christmas, or whether he's been good this year. Just shook his hand, asked his name, and invited him on to his lap to check whether his beard was real or fake.
A gentle tug revealed that it was real.
There was no more discussion after that. Just a balloon, a candy cane, and some hot cocoa.
And, that was that.