I was told that Santa was Satan.
This was in second grade and the information disseminated from a boy no older that I was. His reasoning, as I hadn’t guessed, was because his religion said as much. He continued to verify this by telling me that Santa, when rearranged, spelled Satan. Not trusting my desk-neighbor, I spelled it out on a piece of paper. Sure enough, he was right. Santa was Satan if you wanted it bad enough to be true.
The thing is I grew up in a household that didn’t allow the children to believe in Santa. We were never allowed to believe in any of those imaginary things. No Santa. No Easter Bunny. Nothing.
However, even though I knew Santa to be false in existence, I never needed to bring doubt to children whom had a strong belief in him. I believed that it was okay for these kids to think Santa existed, and in some way, I lived through them. Then they would tell me stories about how Santa came during Christmas Eve and showered them with gifts, and I would love hearing about it.
The reason children in my family weren’t allowed to believe in these imaginary things was because of our religion. My parents figured that when we believed in Santa, we were idolizing a false God. I didn’t really know what he was the God of. The God of gift giving? …of presents? It never made sense to me.
Probably it was because in the Christian faith, Christmas isn’t about the presents. It’s about the faith. It’s about what happened on that day (which actually didn’t take place on the 25th of December, but that’s another story).
To me, it doesn’t matter. You can have your cake and eat it, too, in this world. You can have your faith, believe in God, and believe that Jesus is your savior. You can celebrate that on Christmas, before Christmas, and any time after.
Does any of that mean we have to do away with Christmas traditions?
Not at all. Christmas traditions are just that. Tradition. Christians may celebrate Christmas as everyone else does, by waking up in the morning and giving gifts to their loved ones. They can even say they are celebrating the giving of gifts as a way to celebrate God’s gift to man, the gift of Jesus Christ to this world.
What about Santa?
Well, what about it? We don’t pray to Santa. Yeah, children send him letters and ask for toys, but what’s so wrong with that? We don’t get on our knees and ask for forgiveness from Santa (although we might only if we don’t want a lump of coal in our stockings). We don’t pray to him all year ’round, and, most importantly, people of faith never forgot their faith at Christmas time. People still pray at the table. They still pray at church. They still worship, and life continues just the same whether or not Santa exists.
So what’s the point of denying the existence of Santa to children? Are we so damaged as adults that we can’t let children have a little fun and imagination in their lives? Do we really feel like Santa degrades faith THAT much that we must tell children that he doesn’t exist and that he is Satan in disguise?
No. We don’t. There’s no reason. As long as you teach your faith the right way, there is no reason children cannot also believe in the existence of a supernatural being who gives gifts out on Christmas. Like all other things, they will grow up and grow out of it. So, for the time being, why can’t we just let them live a little as children? We don’t need them to grow up faster than they already do. They have plenty of time for that later in life.