Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"He Sees You When You're Sleeping, He Knows When You're Awake . . ."

Psalm 11:4
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.

We are all holly and jolly and decorating our Christmas tree. The scent of evergreen mingles with the aroma of homemade sugar cookies just out of the oven. Christmas carols ring gaily from my CD player. A wood fire crackles and pops on the hearth.

Six-year-old Daniel, my son, and three-year-old Sarah, my daughter, help hang ornaments on the branches they can reach and hand ones to me to place on the upper boughs. They giggle and chatter merrily together. Seeing them getting along so well prompts a smile.

The spirit of Christmas is surely infectious!

I am caught up in the ambiance of the moment. The glow of tree lights. The treasured ornament hung in the perfect place. Memories of Christmases when I was a little girl . . .

"Hey, Mom?" Daniel's voice shatters my reverie.

"Yes?"

"Are God and Santa Claus the same?"

Into a million pieces . . .

"Daniel!" I gasp, "Whatever would make you think that?"

"Oh, you know that song, Mom."

Daniel begins to sing and Sarah, never one to be bested by her brother, joins in.

"He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake; he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!"

I am dumbfounded. Tripped up by first-grade theology. Trapped by the Santa myth.

One I wish with all my heart I had never promoted at all.

Two weeks before Christmas. Two little Santa believers. Two little children of God . . .

This is not the time to expose Santa as an imposter.

"Daniel," I begin, "Santa sure sounds like God in this song, but he is not God in Heaven."

"Then, how come he has the same powers as God?"

Give me the words, Lord! Give me the words!

"Santa doesn't have the same powers of greatness. He has gifts God has given him, just like Sarah and you have your special talents."

Oh, Lord, I wish I could just tell them the whole truth and not break their hearts . . .

"Wow! God must love Santa a whole bunch!" Daniel exclaims.

"A whole bunch!" Sarah echoes.

"God loves everyone the same," I assure them.

The right words at last . . .
~
As adults, it's easy to forget how literally children view the world. We see no harm in perpetuating the magical persona of Santa Claus as one who knows all, sees all, and rewards good behavior.

This can be confusing to a child who is just learning about God and His love for him.

But, before we throw the jolly old elf out like the baby with the bath water, can we redeem him? Can we be specific with our little ones, right from the get-go, that Santa Claus embodies the spirit of giving? And, in this spirit, acknowledges the coming into the world of the greatest gift mankind has ever and will ever know?

As Christmas approaches, I pray you will reflect upon ways you can help your children or grandchildren embrace the true reason for the season.

And, still leave cookies and milk for Santa.

Readings
Psalms 5, 6 or 10, 11
Isaiah 1:21-31
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Luke 20:9-18

23 comments:

  1. Hi Martha:
    Interesting that your son saw similarities in God and Santa. You should be proud that he was able to extrapolate the relationship between the two.

    I've often wondered whether when the Santa story was originated if the creators didn't meld God and Santa together. Because there are other similarities then just knowing when you're sleeping and awake.

    There's the idea of gift giving if you're good (Santa) The gift of eternal peace (God)

    Something to consider...
    --
    Chris

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  2. We don't plan to tell our kids about Santa. I think this type of thing is too risky. I know a lot of atheists who think Jesus is just like Santa only we Christians never gave up our belief in Jesus, just in Santa. I want Christmas to be special not because of magic, but because of blessing from the Lord.

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  3. Sometimes children can real put us in a spot with their their questions. I am glad you got your answer right on this one.

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  4. when i was little my mom mailed me a invitation to a birthday party for Jesus and Santa was is one of god helpers. it work for me and my kids. god bless

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  5. My older son used to believe in the tooth fairy.. and I think he secretly still does as... both him and myself are still wondering how did that dollar bill find its way under his pillow since both my husband and myself along with him were together...

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  6. Hi, Everyone, and thanks for stopping by today!
    @Alpana - Thank you for the compliment!
    @Chris - I was proud of my son; it was quite an astute observation for his age. You have certainly brought up something to ponder with the God/Santa thing . . .
    @Ann - You are making a very wise decision here, my dear! They will know the true meaning of Christmas.
    @Rimly - My son had a knack for putting me on the spot a number of times. I was thankful to even have an answer for this one! :)
    @Roy - That is just the sweetest thing your mom did! Put God and Santa in absolutely the proper places. :)

    Blessings to you all today!

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  7. Hi, Savira! Thanks for dropping in today!
    What a neat story about the tooth fairy. :) It does certainly make one wonder . . .
    Blessings to you!

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  8. I don't know much about Christianity. Nice post.

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  9. Hi, Janu! Thanks for stopping by today!
    I'm glad you enjoyed today's post. Don't fret about not knowing much about Christianity. If you stay tuned here, hopefully, you'll learn a lot! :)
    Blessings, my friend!

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  10. Fortunately for me, my children never correlated Santa with God. I guess they never really looked at Santa as having 'special' powers as such, just someone who made sure that all the children in the world were recognized on Christmas, the birthday of Jesus. As they got older, I like many parents, didn't want to 'burst their bubble' so when they would see me purchasing Christmas presents and ask me what I was doing, I would tell them that sometimes parents have to help Santa out because he has a big list to fill and sometimes runs out of time, just like we do.
    We still relate to 'Santa' even with them being in their teens because I have always told them when they stop believing in Santa then the presents stop coming LOL. They know there isn't a Santa, per say, but they still ask me to leave milk and cookies each year :)

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  11. Hi, Jan and Mary! Thank you for dropping in today.
    @Jan - I'm so glad you enjoyed today's devotion!
    @Mary - Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about the way you and your family have dealt with Santa. I especially like viewing Mr. Claus as the one who wants to recognize all children with gifts on Christmas. It sounds like your true focus was always on the real meaning of this day. I think it's great that your teens still want to leave out the milk and cookies, too. :) Don't forget the carrot for Rudolph!
    Blessings to you both!

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  12. Hi Martha, this is another wonderful post and I had to smile. How do you explain things like that to a child without spoiling it for them? As small as they are they must have a million questions!

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  13. You nailed it with your explanation, Martha. phew!
    its tough to field their million questions, but you handled it well.

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  14. I don't usually read Christmas story as the bad memories are still there...but this is a touching devotion...I hope my children embrace the real reason for Christmas...I have tried to teach them...AS always........XOXOXOXOXO

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  15. Thank you, Nelieta, Sukanya, and Bongo, for stopping by today. So appreciated!
    @Nelieta - When my children were young, I was forever broadsided with questions. I was fortunate to get out of this one alive! Thank you for the compliment; I'm glad today's devotion made you smile!
    @Sukanya - I so value your compliment! I tried my best those many years ago. Nice to know you feel I "nailed it". :)
    @Bonnie - I understand and am honored that you took the plunge and read this in spite of all the negative memories that haunt you. I know you have done all the best by your children; it's all any parent can do. I am so glad this devotion touched your heart.

    Blessings to you all!

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  16. It is a tricky one. My 7 year old asked this year - is Father Christmas really real mummy . And I said yes. though I have told her that people also dress up as him for school fairs etc - and that there are several as the world is a very big place. I don't know exactly why I didn't tell the truth - but I just couldn't and didn't want to spoil things for my 5 year old either. Very interesting post thankyou x

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  17. Difficult question but you dealt with it well...It's so difficult to keep the fine line between the true spirit of Christmas and the anticipation of gifts....or in the case of adults all the 'work' that makes Christmas!

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  18. Hi, Corinne! Thanks so much for stopping by.
    It is hard to keep that fine line in tact, especially with small children. I tried the best I knew how to do, hoping it was enough . . .
    So appreciate the compliment!
    Blessings!

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  19. Hi, Mum! Thanks so much for stopping by today!
    Yes, it is a precarious position we place ourselves in when our children begin questioning the reality of Father Christmas. We don't want to steal their joy and wonder away too early. A precocious friend told me at the tender age of 6 that Santa wasn't real. When my mom confirmed it, I was devastated. I think that's why I couldn't "tell the truth" to mine either when they asked.
    Blessings to you!

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  20. Amen!! As they say "out of the mouth of babes!" You handled this perfectly, Martha! You're so very insightful! I think I learned something here too!! :-)
    Bless you!

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  21. Thanks for stopping by, Bernie!
    I'm going to be the first to admit, I'm not as insightful as I wish I could be, but grateful that what I did then worked for the time being. Glad you learned something! :)
    Many blessings to you, too!

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