Monday, December 21, 2009

Reposting - Jolly Guy in the Sky

I did this same post last year. I'm reposting it because I think it's good stuff. Love Noel Piper's book. Get it. Read it. Use it. Love it.

I've been doing my seasonal reading. Treasuring God in our Traditions is one of my favorites. Noel Piper has much to say about the Christmas holiday and how to make it Christ-centered in your home.

Growing up - I remember Santa being a huge part of Christmas - really the only thing I looked forward to about it. I don't think Santa is a bad thing, and I certainly think Christian parents can raise Godly children while still doing Santa, however, Shaun and I have made the decision not to include Santa in our home.

I don't think I could say it better than Noel - so I'll quote from her book:

Thinking About Santa

For several reasons, we have chosen not to include Santa Claus
in our Christmas stories
and decorations.

First, fairy tales are fun, but we don’t
ask our children to
believe them.

Second, celebrating with Santa and manger will postpone a child’s
clear understanding of what the real truth of God is.

It’s very difficult for a young
child to pick through a marble cake of
part truth and part imagination to find the
crumbs of reality.
We want our children to understand God as fully as they’re able,

at whatever age they are. So we try to avoid anything
that would inhibit or distort
that understanding.

Third, think how confusing it must be to a literal-thinking,
uncritical preschooler.
Santa is so much like what we’re trying
all year to teach our children about

Look at the “attributes” of Santa:

• He’s omniscient—he sees everything you do.
• He rewards you if you’re good.
• He’s omnipresent—at least, he can be everywhere in one night.
• He gives you good gifts.
• He’s the most famous “old man in the sky” figure.

But at the deeper level that young children can’t comprehend
yet, he is not like
God at all.

For example, does Santa really care if we’re bad or good?
Think of the
most awful kid you can remember.
Did he or she ever not get gifts from Santa?

What about Santa’s spying and then rewarding you if you’re
good enough? That’s not
the way God operates.

He gave us his gift—his Son—even though we weren’t good
at all.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for
us” (Romans 5:8).

He gave his gift to us to make us good, not because we had
ourselves good enough.

Helping our children understand God as much as they’re
able at whatever age
they are is our primary goal.
But we’ve also seen some other encouraging effects of

not including Santa in our celebration.

First, I think children are glad to realize that their parents,
who live with them
all year and know all the worst things about
them, still show their love at Christmas.
Isn’t that better than a funny,
old make-believe man who drops in just once a year?

Second, our children know our family’s usual giving patterns
for birthdays and
special events. They seem to have an instinct
about our typical spending levels and abilities.
Knowing that
their Christmas gifts come from the people they love, rather
from a bottomless sack, can help diminish the “I-want-this,
give-me-that” syndrome.

And, finally, when children know that God’s generosity is reflected
by God’s
people, it tends to encourage a sense of responsibility about
helping make
Christmas good for others.

Noel's entire book is online. Click on the book below to read more about the traditions she suggests for making your holiday season more Christ-centered.

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