In her weekly column at Rare, my wife outed our family as “Santa Truthers,” those killjoys who don’t teach their kids that Santa is real, leaving Christmas to the story of Christ’s birth and the gift-giving to Mom, Dad, and legions of over-generous family members.
The reason why we’re the commissioners of the No Fun League (at least to hear some critics tell it), is the true story is the better story:
The Christmas story is this: God gave us the perfect gift even when we did nothing to deserve it. (And, in fact, deserved a lot worse than a lump of coal.) Instead of looking at us in our sin and putting us away, God was overcome with love for us. He didn’t hold our wrongdoing against us. Instead, at great cost, He gave us a way to be forgiven and reenter into communion with Him. That gift was His son, in the form of a baby.
The Santa story — other than the tales associated with the historical St. Nick, who’s simply a footnote in this commercial age — is this:
There’s a jolly, wonderful, magical being called “Santa” who is watching you. If you do something wrong, your name will be crossed off the “nice list” and put on the “naughty list.” Want good presents? You had better behave.
Which story is actually better and more comforting? The one that has the added benefit of being true.
The story of God’s grace is at the very heart of the Gospel. Why muck that up with fake stories of magical works-based theology?
To be clear, our kids don’t ruin anyone else’s fun (at least they haven’t yet), and I spend exactly zero hours fretting over the different choices other families make, but for those who worry that the true message of Christmas is lost in the holiday shuffle, being a “truther” is worth a try.