Monday, December 19, 2011

The santa dilemma

You better watch out. Santa Claus is coming to our house.

And I'm excited about that. The Santa buzz around here is building and I'm eager to find out what that jolly ol' dude has in store for my family.

But here's the dilemma. There's a truth about Santa that some of you might already know, and some folks think that Santa's truth is getting in the way of The Truth. The Truth that is living and breathing and blossoming in my heart. The Truth that means everything to me. And Lord willing, that Truth will mean everything to my precious children.

Recently I read a post here and a post here, and believe it or not, they both resonated beautifully with me. But how can I be moved by one author who doesn't celebrate Christmas with Santa and presents while agreeing with another author who not only celebrates Christmas with Santa Claus, but get this, she flat out believes in the ol' man?! How can I hide elves humorously around my home each night while praying intensely for my dear friend whose non-Santa practicing family is sacrificially spending their Christmas loving on a country and a people who so desperately need Jesus?

I don't know.

But I do.

And for what it's worth, here's where I've landed, at least for now:

1) I love a child's imagination. LOVE. My absolute most magical memories of childhood are my daydreams and make believes. When my childhood was lonely, I dreamed and imagined up a friend of my very own. Her name was Dorothy, and I still love her. My parents never fussed at me about Dorothy. They let her have a seat at our table and they brought her a water cup along with mine. And I thank them for that, for allowing me Dorothy.

I think this is where I find Santa in all this. It's an opportunity for me to engage in my children's imaginations. If only for a few years, it will be delightful to whip up silly stories and fanciful tales about elves and reindeer and chimneys. Some might call me a liar. I call me a dreamer.

2) If I do my job right, there will be no confusion about Jesus & Santa. If I preach THE TRUTH about Jesus all year round, then what's the difference in December? There is no difference. We still celebrate Jesus in December just as we do in February and August. His miraculous and holy birth. His eternal gift of life. His grace and mercy. Definitely His mercy. It was only this morning that I pulled into our driveway and asked my children for forgiveness and we sat there, the van in park, praying and praising because God is merciful when I'm impatient and snippy and wretched. It's the week of Christmas and I'm as broken as ever. Santa might be able to deliver happiness in a wind-up toy, but only Jesus can deliver pure, undeserved joy.

In my world, we can sit on Santa's lap on Wednesday and walk through the life size nativity on Saturday. We can write a letter to the North Pole and paint a picture of the blessed nativity.
It's not an either-or. And yet the two don't get equal playing time. Jesus will always be the King of this home.

For me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Jesus will always be the reason. The reason we breathe. The reason we love. The reason we celebrate. Santa and his shiny bells are nothing more than a fantasy that we bring to life. Jesus, He is our life. He is our heartbeat and our breath. Fantasy ain't got nothin' on our faith - our daily bread.

In a few short days, my minis will wake from their sugar-plum-filled visions to stockings full of trinkets delivered magically by a sleigh. And we will thank Jesus. Thank Him for blessing us with a loving home, warm beds, a full fridge, and precious dreams.

And don't worry. We paid Santa a visit last week. And one thing's for sure. Jesus has never received this kind of reaction from my kids.

*These pictures are from last year's Santa visit. There was only slight improvement this year. I'll share more soon.


  1. Love you, friend. And I love how you wrestle through life with your knees before the cross as you figure out what it means to be IN this world, and not OF this world. Thanks for sharing your humble heart.

    And love those pictures of the minis! I remember thinking, each year that I've known them, that they couldn't get cuter. And they keep proving me wrong.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Oh Ali! This was THE YEAR that Lucas found out that Santa was no longer...and it was bittersweet. You couldn't have said it any better when you made your point about being a 'dreamer'. I too was the child with the big imagination. The same time I was learning about Jesus was the same time I was learning there wasn't a Santa (or Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy). This isn't an either/or scenario and I do believe it helps to foster creativity and imagination inasmuch as we, as parents, encourage such things.
    What I can say, as a parent who has raised my children to love Jesus and know that Christmas is about His birth. When Santa is no longer comin' to town; what remains is the TRUTH and the Truth stands on its own.

  3. I love you Ali! You write your heart the way I would want to. You express me better than I do. You make me laugh and cry and want to pursue Jesus like no other. We're kindred spirits :-) Miss you like crazy already! :-(

  4. In Austria, the Christ Child (Krist Kinder) brings the gifts. Problem solved. Until then Opa will be happy to be Santa to those poor babies.

  5. Great post! I love it (even though it made me feel guilty about not crawling past the kids to the back seat of the van to buckle Helen (Bekah's #1 imaginary friend) into her imaginary seat like I am often requested to do).

  6. Ali, I get so excited when I see a new post come up on my newsfeed! You have a beautiful way of honestly expressing things you care about and wrestle with. I love that despite knowing there are friends who will vehemently disagree with your view, you express it, honestly and openly. As a mom of college agers who love Jesus with all their hearts and who waited for Santa with great joy, I can affirm your thoughts that it does not have to be an "either or" proposition. We had so much fun with Santa and I even have a great story about Andrew finding out about the Big Guy in Red. My kids are not scarred by the "lie" that we encouraged...they loved it and still do. It is clear that you treasure these moments, sweet Ali. I love being a spectator in the ways you do! Merry Christmas and HO HO HO!!

  7. I love, love, LOVE this post. And I love YOU. And your kids. And your dad. And the fact that your kids don't cry hysterically about Jesus. This is beautiful, friend.

  8. Dang it. I'm Marla, not Gabe. Sounds like something he'd write though.