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"The key word is belief. Emulating Saint Nick is awesome, but I have problems with parents duping their children into believing that Santa exists. A church could acknowledge in a family context the historical person of St. Nicholas. But the figure ...

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Displaying 1–32 of 32 comments

Steve Skeete

December 20, 2013  5:37am

Santa Claus is Myth, fiction. As a boy I loved to read the legends of Greece and Rome and found them fascinating. I devoured the Aeneid and the Odyssey, along with the exploits of Thor the Norse God. I mavelled at the exploits of comic book heroes like 'Dare Devil' and the 'Sub Mariner'. None of this stopped me from believing in Jesus Christ as God's Son and the Saviour of the world. I know of no boy of my generation where I grew up that is, nor is not, a Christian because of teachings about Santa. When my daughter was a little girl she believed that Santa brought her gifts, as I did when I was a boy. It had to be 'Santa' since my mother, God rest her soul, was too poor to afford gifts. Neither my daughter nor I were affected by once believing in Santa. Why? because children grow up! When are people, Christian included,going to get it through their heads that Santa is, folklore, fiction, fantasy.!Neither he, Mrs. Claus, nor Rudolph prevent anyone from believeing in Jesus Christ.

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Claire Guest

December 18, 2012  10:35am

Teresa, even when children are taught to believe in Santa Claus, there comes a time when parents tell them the truth - that SC is a myth. There was a Saint Nicholas, and it would be wonderful if children were simply told the truth about his life without the myth of SC tacked on to it. I don't like the song "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" because the lyrics give attributes to SC which are only true of God Himself. But as one who was taught to believe in SC as a child, then learned the truth later, that never caused me to believe that Mohammed was a true prophet of God or that Islam is true - there was never any correlation at all. I did a comparative study of world religions when I was a teen, before I became a Christian, and I saw clearly then the deficiencies of Islam.

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Claire Guest

December 18, 2012  10:32am

b k, the Angel Tree program, which was begun by Charles Colson about 30 years ago, arranges for gifts to be given to children of incarcerated parents at Christmas time (the gift tag says they are from the parent). Similar programs have arisen since then (they seem to have copied his idea) which do the same for poor children, children who have been taken from abusive parents, etc. These are worthy ministries for churches and individuals to participate in. My children have greatly enjoyed participating in ministries like these (including Samaritans Purse Christmas Shoebox program) through the years.

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Teresa Benson

December 18, 2012  10:09am

Even though most of us seem to agree not to teach our children that Santa is real, I wonder about our teaching children the "value" of tolerance-- letting others believe a destructive lie because it is "only a game." (Though in a game, the players actually know that there is a game on-- unlike lied-to children.) Or the "value" of not interfering with other parents' choosing to teach lies. Would we also we insist that our children never tell their Muslim friends that Mohammed really wasn't who the imams say he is? Or discourage our ministers from saying so in the presence of Muslim children?

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b k

December 18, 2012  1:31am

Well a favorite discussion that goes under the radar due to its sheer mocking of society, including the church in its level of seriousness when considering the poor child gets his heartbroken and in most cases never recovers? Why because of pain it gets subverted and never resolved because of mocking there is that word again but this time from peers friends, or siblings or authority group parents...he therefore learns not to trust parents or friends at least temporarily and then later when it comes times to believe in a God who sees you when you sleep knows when you are awake, the child or young adult has been once burnt twice shy, letsinclined to believe in God... i have talked about this to several people and they agree. James Dobson please write a book on this ...ASAP

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Claire Guest

December 17, 2012  1:16pm

I'm not about to tell parents how to rear their children, or churches how to handle this subject. Those issues are beyond my sphere of influence. What we have always done is simply proclaim the blessed TRUTH of Christ Jesus' entrance into this world, and all that means for people today. This is what He has commanded us to do.

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H. D. Schmidt

December 15, 2012  9:50pm

Let's always use truth to teach truth, right? Our children get bombarded enough otherwise wit satanic things of which, Halloween is the worst of the all! I, as a legal immigrant now going on 57 years and a Christian how come this celebration exists in this country that claims to be under God? And I repeat, lets stop teaching children how to lie!

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Claire Guest

December 15, 2012  8:59pm

Ahh, another Claire here! :) I think you may have misunderstood my earlier post. I never restricted my children from telling others about Christ Jesus at ANY time - He was the center of our home and lives. I did tell my children that other parents did teach their children to believe in Santa Claus, which was their prerogative as parents, and that I had better not ever hear of my children telling such children that Santa was not real. To me that was just basic respect - like you told your son some people play a game, like hide and seek, and we don't want to ruin the game for them. My children did tell other children about Christ Jesus, about His coming to earth, all He accomplished on our behalf by coming to earth from Heaven. It was not at all uncommon for them to lead other children to faith in Christ Jesus.

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Claire Bennett

December 15, 2012  6:36pm

When my son was 4 he nearly started a riot at his preschool when he repeated what he had been taught at home, "Jesus is real, Santa is a story." When I arrived to pick him up, the teacher told me that kids were upset thinking that Santa wasn't coming with the gifts. So much for, "Jesus is the reason for the season." I couldn't imagine teaching my son to not tell people the truth because it might upset them. Would we not tell people about Jesus because they believe something else and it might upset or offend them? I told him some people play a game, like hide and seek, and we don't want to ruin the game for them. I would argue that Santa is not the same as Mickey Mouse. My kids knew that Disneyland characters were people inside costumes. Besides, Mickey isn't portrayed as omniscient, omnipresent, nor does he visit children in their homes and bring them gifts.

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Claire Bennett

December 15, 2012  6:17pm

Thank you for adding the one counterbalancing argument to the article. Ok, I understand various ministries might lose dollars if they offend contributors. Isn't anyone concerned that their children will jettison Jesus along with Santa Claus as a myth when they grow up? What does it do to the heart of God that love and trust in his Son is replaced with, or has added on, idolatry of a false substitute?

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Claire Guest

December 15, 2012  5:35pm

As a parent, I would never presume to say what churches 'should' do. When my children were young, it was my goal to center everything in our lives around the precious truth of God's Word. Christmas was about Christ Jesus, not Santa Claus. At the same time, though, I told my children that other parents did teach their children to believe in Santa Claus, which was their prerogative as parents, and that I had better not ever hear of my children telling such children that Santa was not real. AFAIK, they never did. I did tell my children about Saint Nicholas, the legends, and that he was a real man. Because grandparents would ask my children was Santa was bringing them for Christmas, I explained to my children that the Santa myth represented the goodness of God, His generosity, to some people. At the same time, though I never made a big deal of it, the lyrics to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" bothered me because they attribute to Santa what is ONLY true of the Lord Himself.

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MARSHA LYNN

December 15, 2012  10:31am

It seems there are two questions here: 1) Should parents tell tales to their children and insist they are true? and 2) Should parents force "truth" on their children during the years they still believe in magic and fairy tales? My husband and I spun few tales about Santa when our children were young. (I reserved such fun for the tooth fairy -- less trauma involved at many levels.) Nor did we sit them down and force the truth upon them. I saw no more need to do that in reference to Santa Claus than to Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. (Are they real?) However, Santa never went beyond filling stockings at our house. Instead, he dumped his overflowing (and overwhelming) bags of loot at Grandpa and Grandma's house. At our house, we were all givers and the question was: "Do you have gifts to share this Christmas morning?"

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Christina Mosher

December 15, 2012  9:44am

I had these same questions and struggles. And I spent a great deal of time praying over this after last Christmas. I felt led to write this book which shows how we don't have to let Santa be a divisive issue in the church, no matter which side you land on. I originally wrote it for my sons, but I felt it might be helpful for other families, too. It is only in electronic form at this time, but if you are able to access .pdf (Adobe) files, then you can read it from your ipad, laptop, or computer, or you can print off a hard copy. I am charging $4 for it, but all my profits are being donated to Perimeter Christian School for Christian education and discipleship. Feel free to check it out at www.secretofsantabook.com. You can also preview portions of the book and see more of the artwork at http://ebayc.us/24620234. Merry Christmas!

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Helmut Egesa Wagabi

December 15, 2012  9:17am

Emphasize the fact that Christ is the reason for Christmas, not merry-making. A proper understanding of Christmas will go a long way into arresting the domestic violence that arises from the misunderstanding that has crept into people's hearts, causing them to make wild demands on other family members and going through the season in turmoil rather than being peaceful and joyful.

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gordon payne

December 15, 2012  4:45am

What's the harm? As for those who say he doesn't exist, prove it. The church is better off dealing with homosexuality, divorce, feminism, et al, than disparaging a time honored tradition that doesn't militate against true belief, but encourages the 'fruit of the Spirit'. See Rom 8. What is more dangerous is the widespread acceptance within the church of those who don't believe 'Jesus Christ has come in the Flesh', the historical God/man. See, 1 Jn 4. As for me, am going to enjoy my egg-nogg and glorify God by watching 'Miracle on 34th Street'! Merry Christmas to all you humbugs!

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Paul Brooks

December 15, 2012  4:43am

One Christmas as a young inexperienced minister at a carol service Italked (briefly) about how Santa did not exist, then focussed us on Jesus. I had cross comments from some Christian parents - the non-Christians didn't seem to mind! Afterwards a father came up to me and said that I was right; the day he stopped believing in Santa was the day he stopped believing in Jesus, another said they day he discovered Santa did not exist was the day he stopped trusting his parents. I told the story a few days later to a bunch of leaders from various churches at a planning meeting & said how foolish I had been; 2 of them said exactly the same as the 2 fathers who approached me. I learnt that God uses our foolishness, and that lying to our children can be very costly. We told our kids Santa is a bit of fun that others enjoy, but that he is not real. A stranger breaking into your house is not OK - a child I know of was terrified by the thought of Santa's visit...

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Kathi Vande Guchte

December 14, 2012  11:19pm

I agree with the poster who wrote that the church should not micro-manage the homes of the families in their pews.

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DANIEL & TERRY UNRUH

December 14, 2012  9:35pm

Those who feel you can use St. Nicholas to appropriately incorporate Santa into a celebration of Christ's birth must be much better parents than we were. We just don't undertand. How can you possibly portray Santa as an example of selfless giving as a faithful follower of Christ when everything around the Santa industry is based on getting? We would have ended up with children badly confused and doubting our integrity as their parents. I am reminded of the (obviously apocryphal) story of the little boy who was asked whether he believed that the Devil existed. He opined that he felt the devil was very likely similar to Santa....when you got older you would find out that it was just your father. As Christians it is not our duty to try to "take back" Christmas (with what it has become are we sure we want it back??) nor to go out of our way to debunk Santa, but to actually participate in perpetuating this myth in our homes and churches?

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D. Cyril Marlatt

December 14, 2012  5:18pm

We handled it in our home when my five year old daughter asked "did Santa live." I was driving on the highway and obtusely said, "Of course he lived, but he died and is with God now, waiting for his resurrection and the renovated heavenly physical earth." She only heard that he died, many tears were shed, but we still don't reduce Santa to "eternal life" before the new earth is established. Eternal life is in Christ, not a tradition; this give us latitude with Santa, now the kids tell their teachers "he died, but he is waiting for the resurrection with the rest of us. Rev. D. Cyril Marlatt

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editor UNITYINCHRIST.COM

December 14, 2012  4:59pm

As the Messianic Jews know, timing John the Baptist's birth in the early spring around Passover time, and knowing Jesus was born about six months later as recorded in Scripture, Jesus of Nazareth was born in the fall, probably between the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles, or during one of those Holy Days. December 25 was the date of the pagan Saturnalia in Rome. There is nothing sacred about the Christmas observance, and the early Separatists both in England and Plymouth Colony wanted nothing to do with it. Lying to children is bad enough. Observing Jesus birthday on the date of a pagan holiday is even more sacreligious the way the Separatists viewed it, and I concur. Jesus observed God's sacred Holy Days his entire life while on earth, as did the early Church and apostles. What happened between then and now? I have a very interesting early Church history article on my site, which traces some of this history from 100AD to the 300s AD. Check it out.

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Mark Adams

December 14, 2012  4:37pm

Christians are to be characterized by truth. To deliberately lie to, or to deceive, our children is sin whether it is in reference to Santa Claus or something else. Santa's supposed omniscience smacks at a portrayal of deity. His ability to travel to every home in one day and to have flying deer also smacks of the supernatural. The Santa of common cultural belief could easily become a false god and at least during certain times of the year be in competition with the true God for the time, attention, and worship of children. The motive for obedience becomes to please Santa in order to get rather than to demonstrate one's love for God and others.

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Howard Pepper

December 14, 2012  4:35pm

I frankly don't think it's much of an issue either way in relation to kids up to 5 or 6. Ms Onious J Henry's story (comments section) shows that if kids don't have it figured out well before 12 (I'd say even by 8 or 9), something is probably not healthy somewhere... and that regardless of Christian faith..... I don't think how Santa is handled has much at all to do with establishing (or not) a mature religious faith of any kind... but it MAY have impact on trust or other issues within a family. THAT is what one should be careful about. Personally, I have no recollection when my two sisters and I knew that Santa wasn't real... I can't recall ever believing he was, but may well have for a while because I also don't recall WHAT my very Christian parents told us when we were real young. Now they have passed and I don't recall ever asking them.....

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NORMAN STOLPE

December 14, 2012  4:32pm

As Christian parents, my wife and I tried very hard not to teach our children something at one age that we'd have to un-teach them at an older age, not that we always got it right. So from birth they were taught that Santa was a fun, imaginary part of Christmas. In some ways, Santa is not unlike Frosty the Snowman, that they easily recognized as imaginary, except that the stories about Santa grew up around a real person who was a devoted follower of Jesus - Nicholas of Myra. We read Harold Myra's "Santa, Are You for Real?" many Christmases. This book by the one time publisher of Christianity Today is still available on Amazon (maybe elsewhere). Of course, this didn't all unfold at once, and we added teaching incrimentally. We now have 4 grandchildren (ages 5-15) who have been similarly taught by their parents, which we take as a high recommendation. If we have to teach our children to un-believe in Santa, might they not wonder when we'll teach them to un-believe in Jesus?

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Heidi Walker

December 14, 2012  3:00pm

We handle it by allowing the children to hear about and believe in Santa, but if they ask if he is real, we say, "What do you think?" It didn't take the oldest long to figure it out, but the younger is still holding on. We just focus on Jesus, and in the end, she'll figure it out.

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Carmen Bryant

December 14, 2012  2:38pm

I would have to agree with those who say no to having children believe in Santa, both because of personal experience and because of the devastating effects I saw overseas (Indonesia) where Santa Claus was equated with the Lord Jesus. I was one of those children who was devastated when I realized my parents had lied to me. To those who think this is a small matter, and that "correcting" the lie will repair the damage--you may get away with it in some cases. In mine, I never fully trusted my parents again. Later I could forgive them, of course, but they had betrayed my trust. A lie done in fun is still a lie. It's not worth it. When non-western nations are flooded with Western symbols of Christmas, they often do not have the background to differentiate the various Christian traditions. The traditions spread faster than the Truth, and baby in the manger grows up to be a corpulent wish fulfiller.

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DR MRS THOMAS C RAMBO

December 14, 2012  2:07pm

When our children were small we told them from the start that Santa was a "game" that parents and children played at Christmas. (We also told them not to tell their classmates about this game.) They had more fun playing the "game" than they would have had otherwise and we could play the "game" to this day. They have expressed how grateful they were that we approached Santa this way.

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MS ONIOUS J HENRY

December 14, 2012  1:55pm

As a child growing up, the worst spanking that we ever got at home was for lying. If we told the truth sometimes we would escape the punishment of a spanking. So when I my mom and dad said that there was a Santa Claus, it never occurred to me that he was a fictional character. When I turned 12 years old I was getting ready to go to bed so that Santa could come and my dad told me that I had to stay up and I asked why and his response was 'I had to help put the toys together for the younger children.' I was astonished! It may seem simple. It may seem like I was old enough to know better, but I never questioned my parents. I was devastated because my parents LIED to me. Tell the truth and Jesus is the TRUTH! That is what I told my children and they appreciated it.

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Sharon Johnson

December 14, 2012  1:14pm

NOTHING good can come from Christian families lying to their children and perpetuating the myth of Santa Claus as reality. We never for a moment wanted to lead our children to believe that Santa Claus was real no more than we encouraged to believe that Micky Mouse was real. There is absolutely NO REASON to continue the Santa Claus mythology when the REAL story of Christmas is so much deeper and richer and real. On the funny side, I told my children there was only one fat man giving out gifts at Christmas time - and that was me! More seriously, while we did (and still do) provide our children gifts at Christmas, it has been our practice to provide special end-of-year gifts to our favorite missionaries and ministries - our children were included in this part of our Christmas giving - they learned that the real spirit of Christmas was grateful response to the gift of eternal life in Christ.

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Michael Leming

December 14, 2012  12:52pm

I saw Santa kneeling on his knee. His countenance was different than that all-familiar, jolly grin; his head was bowed, with hand to breast, and slightly tucked into his vest. For there in a nativity was Jesus and His family, and as I heard him start to pray I listened close to what he'd say. "Lord, You know that You're the reason I take pleasure in this season. I don't want to take Your place, but just reflect Your wondrous grace. I hope you'll help them understand I'm just an ordinary man, who found a way to do Your will by finding kids with needs to fill. But all those centuries ago, there was no way for me to know that they would make so much of me, and all the gifts beneath the tree. They think I have some hidden power granted at the midnight hour, but it is my love for You inspiring the things I do. And so when they begin to open gifts for which they have been hoping, may they give You all the glory, for You're the One True Christmas story." Santa http://www.wimp.com/santadad/

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Matt STEPHENS

December 14, 2012  12:48pm

@Phil Vischer - The incarnation and birth of the Messiah is "somber"? Awe-striking and too wonderful for words. Solemn might be an apt descriptor. But somber? As far as I'm concerned, there are two distinct Christmas holidays: the celebration of Christ's coming as a child, and the celebration of family, goodies, bling and...well...of celebration itself. When believers and non-believers alike lay claim to a holiday (though where has the "holy" in "holiday" gone?), you know something must be off. We are not celebrating the same holiday at all. From now on, I will use the term "Christmases" to include Christmas 1 and Christmas 2. And a closing thought: those who answered "yes" to the question of whether we should lie to our children in presenting folklore as fact need to learn to appreciate the simple power of story and imagination. We don't have to lie in order to achieve the effect of linking St. Nick to God's greatest gift.

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Teresa Benson

December 14, 2012  12:44pm

While we don't need to throw out all Christmas traditions that aren't explicitly Christ-centered, we should be talking to parents about how to combat today's consumer-oriented culture, whether lying to children is appropriate in certain situations, and whether they as parents should affirm the "truth" of someone other than God who is omniscient and who bases his rewards on good works. The church should support parents in questioning cultural presumptions and in making a deliberate decision about what to tell their children.

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Michael steVENSON

December 14, 2012  12:34pm

Question: Can you spell Spiritual Adultery? Is there *another name, besides the Name of Jesus? Does He share His Glory with *anyone? Will the God that we worship receive 2nd hand praise? Repent! -- ms http://www.circlegame.com

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