One of our favorite things to do on these dark, cold winter evenings is to snuggle up for family movie night. With Christmas approaching, my vote is usually for holiday movies—especially the classics we watch every year. On Saturday, the kids voted for a new movie, The Christmas Chronicles. It’s your typical, highly predictable, Santa story but was an enjoyable watch and spurred some interesting conversation in our home.
Although we know many disagree with this, Luke and I made the decision when our oldest was 5 to share the truth about Santa with our kids from the beginning. We did this out of a desire to focus our attention during the Christmas season on Christ’s birth and the truth about who He is and what His life means for our family. Thus, we share the true stories of St. Nick- a man who lived in the 300s AD, loved God, and obeyed Jesus’ teachings by caring for and giving of all he had to those in need. And we try to draw their attention away from their gifts under the tree to the incredible free gift they have in Jesus and in the miracle of the story of His coming.
Despite knowing that the Santa of the books, movies, and department stores isn’t real, our kids often comment that they sometimes want to believe he is. They are drawn to the magic of a jolly man knowing their names and what they desire, the inclusivity of being counted among the people in Santa’s book of those who believe, and the thrill of flying reindeer carrying his sleigh to every house around the world in one night to give gifts to every boy and girl. But, what a joy it is, as we talk about how amazing it would be if Santa was really real, for me to remind them there is someone who IS real who is infinitely more amazing—and that is God. Their Father, the Creator, not only knows details of what they desire but has written the story of every boy and girl who ever was or ever will be in this world. And, He knows and cares for every detail of their lives—every joy, every sorrow, every second. He has a book of life where the names of those who believe are written. And, they don’t have to worry about whether they make the cut for the nice list, because they know we are all naughty. The gift of grace, forgiveness, joy, and eternal life isn’t for those who deserve it (since none of us do) but rather a free gift from Jesus for all those who believe He is who He says He is! There are actual historical accounts in the Bible and in other records of our Savior, Jesus, experiencing a humble birth, fulfilling every iota of ancient prophecies, knowing and caring for intimate details of people’s lives, walking on water, turning water to wine, healing the sick, bringing sight to the blind, and even raising people from the dead! These are not fairytales of a mythical man who they will someday learn is just a myth, but true glimpses of an amazing, real, God who is with them always and who they will one day see face to face!
Although we don’t get to experience our kids delight over sitting on Santa’s lap, there is a true and marvelous joy in getting to see their eyes light up with wonder as they discover more truths about our Savior and find their strength and comfort in His arms! I especially love when their minds turn to the real hope we have of heaven—pondering the incredible joys and experiences we will have there and the people with whom we will be reunited and will meet. In fact, as our kids brought to our attention the other night, since St. Nicholas called Jesus his God and Savior, he will be among the many who we will greet and rejoice with one day in heaven. “We’ll get to talk to the real Santa?!” our kids exclaimed. “How cool is that?!” But even more cool, we will get to look into the eyes of our real Savior and delight in the joy of His presence for eternity!