The first time I saw it was in the early ’80s while Christmas shopping. I’ve seen many versions of the Kneeling Santa since then—some prettier than that one, but none as special to me.
I was brought up in a Christian home (my parents walked the walk and talked the talk as they understood from the Word at the time). But my brothers and I also grew up experiencing the excitement and mystique of Santa Claus, encouraged by Mom and Dad as they played along.
One day, with mixed emotions, I asked my parents if Santa was real. I had put it off as long as possible because some things a child just doesn’t want to hear. Dad earlier had shot a hole in my childhood fantasy when I asked for something far more expensive than my usual Santa requests. And rushing to nip my enthusiastic expectation in the bud, Dad said the first thing that popped into his head: “We can’t afford that.” I pointed out, of course, that I was asking SANTA for it, not him. That’s when my sweet (befuddled?) daddy delivered the crippling shot: “But WE have to PAY for it.” (OUCH)
My parents did tell me the truth when I asked, but not exactly outright. They helped take me gently down the road to the correct conclusion—thanks Mom and Dad. I guess they had heart-warming memories of their childhood excitement about Santa, too.
In the years to come, I began to understand more about how the Santa story can confuse kids and how—once believed—it is so disappointing to put aside. In my years as a mother and grandmother, I have discovered the complexities in trying to play along with the Santa fantasy while conveying the real meaning of Christmas. It’s a tricky business . . . and probably not worth holding on so tightly to the Santa part. When your children are grown, you will not wish you had given more or equal time to Santa and childhood fantasy than you did to the birth of Jesus.
Today, with my more mature 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had conveyed clearly to my children at a younger age:
- That JESUS is the only One who really knows us—so well, in fact, that even the hairs on our head are numbered! (And He never has to make a list and check it twice.)
- That GOD’S WORD is our only instruction book for life for it reveals who we are, who we can be, and it describes the many blessings (like presents!) that come to us from speaking and living in agreement with God.
- That the FIRST CHRISTMAS PRESENT was Jesus—God’s gift to mankind, a gift that never rusts, breaks down or needs repair and one that we never outgrow.
- That BELIEVING and RECEIVING into our heart what the Bible says about the birth of Christ, his life, death and resurrection bring the best of blessings—far different from believing in Santa to ensure he will keep coming to see us or from wondering if we have been “good” (by human standards) so we don’t find a bag of coal under the tree!
So that day when I glimpsed ole Santa, hatless out of respect, and kneeling down before the Savior of the world in prayer and adoration, I realized that even Santa knows the truth.
To understand the truth behind the story of Christmas, I recommend you read the following posts from my pastor’s blog: