Monday, December 20, 2010

Celebrating CHRISTmas: Post #5- Thoughts On Santa

I hope you've caught on through these posts that we LOVE the Christmas season and love having fun celebrating in tons of different ways throughout it. By now, if you’ve read along this series, you’ve probably noticed that Santa hasn’t been mentioned in any of our traditions. 

A few people have asked me to blog about it. I've been hesitant. I am young(ish). I've only been a Mom 5 years. I'm pretty confident that I have a lot to learn and I'm not an expert. I certainly do not want to assume that I know what is right or good for other families (and keeping Romans 14 in mind as I type) and so I hesitate. But mainly, I do NOT want to take the focus off of celebrating Christ and His incredible love and grace in this blog series. 

And yet, I believe those that asked genuinely want to know what we teach and why. Some of you are prayerfully considering how to celebrate Christmas. And I am seeing that blogging means sharing (in humility) what God has lead us to in this area as well as others that may be controversial. Thank you for the challenge.

But first: here's a word from Pastor Mark Lauterbach (of Grace Church in San Diego, CA) to think on as we tackle any subject that the Bible doesn't clearly teach for or against:

"In cases where there is no one to one correspondence and where multiple principles apply, seek personal application and follow it without universalizing the rule.
 I must apply.  I have every reason to seek the application of Scripture to my life -- and to do so as unto the Lord.  To say, "It doesn't matter, I am free" is not living unto the Lord.  To say, "I think this is an area of life where I may partake or abstain and know I am pleasing God, but I sense God is calling me to partake" -- THAT is conscience toward God. 
 I dare not add to the Word of God.  I also have no warrant to go beyond what is written, and make the work of the Spirit in my heart and life the universal rule for all, and to judge all by my rule.  And I must turn from the most subtle form of legalism, to think my rule is superior and if the other person "got it" as well as I do, they would agree with me.  It is precisely against such pride that the Apostles speaks in Romans 14."

Our main reason that Santa isn't included in our traditions is simply that we desire that Christ be the center of everything we say and do. We "make much of Him" and little of everything else because it's so easy for us to wander from Him and miss the beauty of the His great love for us. It's one of the few times when it's socially acceptable to display Christ (nativity) and to sing songs in public about Him! We want this season to be a huge celebration of Jesus. All reasons and arguments that we hashed through kept coming back to this one principle to us: keep Christ central. 

That being said, we don't fully avoid or try to shelter our kids from exposure to Santa. Instead, we teach that Santa, as taught today, isn't real but is a fun (pretend) man. Just like Elmo or Mickey, we enjoy seeing him at the mall and waving. We don't buy things that promote Santa or display them in our home, but we enjoy looking at stuffed toys or stickers at friend's homes and in stores. Santa is basically a fun decoration we see, but not our focus or included in our traditions.

For those of you weighing it seriously, this is a  really well written response by Noel Piper (John Piper's wife) that affirmed our decision. She also has an awesome book called "Treasuring God in Our Traditions" that I highly recommend! (You can read through it online for free.)

*note: I did prepare a more detailed response that is available for any of you who have concern with our teaching or are prayer fully deciding what to teach your children and would like to go deeper into some of the "arguments" for/against Santa together through private messages! Just email me.

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