Upon picking Baby #3 up from school today, he informed me, “Mom, you were wrong.”
They had just returned from a field trip touring an old town mansion and Santa happened to be visiting there.
“Oh yeah,” I said. I already knew what he was referring to. He has been giddy about Santa this year, despite the fact that we told him of Santa’s myth. “Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Because Santa is real. I saw him today. He told me that he is real, and his beard was real,” Baby #3 described his interaction with Santa.
I was secretly smiling to myself. Not because he had belief in the character, but because he was using his imagination and was thinking for himself. If you recall, I wrote about our holiday tradition change-up last year. Since then, we have reiterated the REAL reason for the season, but somehow the idea was lost to Baby #3. He is positive. Santa is real.
“I told him that I wanted an Xbox,” he continued.
“Really. What did Santa say about that?” I was hoping he didn’t promise it to him. Not that I plan to buy it…I can hardly stand the Wii and other electronic devices we have at home right now. The whole issue was just starting to get a little too complex.
“He said he would have to check into that,” Baby #3 explained.
For a minute, I was relieved, but I also felt sad. Should I give into this want for the sake of Christmas? The spirit of giving? The Season of Hope?
I quickly brushed my thoughts aside. You see, I am a pretty straight forward person. We told him that Santa was not real. We said that we could pretend and think about how cool it would be if Santa were real, and we enjoy movies about Santa and Christmas in general. But the REAL meaning of Christmas is JESUS.
Santa is not real.
“You know Santa is not real, right?” I tried to start the conversation again.
“He’s real, Mom. Parker (a child in his class) said that if I don’t believe, I will be on the naughty list for the rest of my life!” he was certain his classmate knew more about Santa than I did.
For the sake of his emotions at that moment, I dropped the conversation. I knew we would talk again about the realness of Santa and the true meaning of the season. Baby #3 was passionate about Santa for now; swayed by his magical splendor and the bright lights provided by his temporary excitement. It is tempting to believe that the world has something more to offer other than the true gift God gives us at Christmastime. I will admit; I’ve fallen for this sentiment too. But the idea is not lasting and it is not secure, and there is no hope in presents. Or cookies. Or the booming blow-up yard displays that litter this season.
Eventually, Baby #3 will grasp the true meaning of Christmas; I am certain. It will probably be on Christmas morning when there is no Xbox to be found. As his mother, I am worried about that; worried that somehow we may ruin his Christmas, and dull his passion and his spirit for this holiday. We would be miserably failing him, however, if we went back on our word and offered him something other than what we promised the true meaning of Christmas to be (And I would be LYING. You know my feelings on THAT!).
In the midst of it all, I am happy that he believes in Santa right now. Not because I think it is the right belief, but because he is learning his own way and challenging the norm in our family, and because he is believing and trusting in something that he can’t really see. That’s Christianity. That’s faith. And in that, is real hope for something unchanging and everlasting.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
If we are doing our job how we hope to be, someday he’ll understand that too.
Luke 2:9-12 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.