Friday, December 10, 2010

I would be so excited, but, at the same time, so scared. When I was a kid, going downtown to see Santa Claus, in a what seemed an enormous department store, was something I looked forward to beginning in September. Every family has at least one picture of a child sitting in Santa’s lap with a terrified look or screaming like they were being kidnapped to the North Pole. They’re perfect for rehearsal dinner videos.

There’s the ongoing debate of whether or not it’s healthy to let children believe there’s a fat man in a red suit who makes toys and has the ability to travel all over the world on one night leaving gifts for good kids. I suppose it falls into the same category as the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. I remember thinking they must get together occasionally to have dinner and discuss strategies. My psyche wasn’t damaged when I found out their real identity. Some may argue.

One of the origins of Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas of Myra, a fourth century Greek Christian bishop who was famous for his generous gift giving to the poor. He devoted his life entirely to Christianity and once gave dowries to three impoverished sisters so they would not have to become prostitutes. Sounds like an okay kind of a guy to me.

Obviously, we want our kids to understand Christmas is the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, the Savior. Certainly He’s the central focus, but things like the character of Santa Claus, the giving tree at church, or the Salvation Army bucket all emphasizes giving, hope and love, all attributes of Jesus.

And those are good things for people to learn early in life ... before the world kicks them around a bit and they become Bah Humbugish.

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