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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Why doesn't Santa come to our house?

Santa doesn't visit our house. He never has. Not even when David was a little boy.

I didn't grow up believing in Santa, and David never believed in him, either.

I've gotten a lot of strange looks and comments over the years from well-meaning friends who just couldn't believe how I could deprive my sweet child of the magic of Santa.

Since I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who never once believed in Santa even as a little girl, I realize that my thoughts on the matter may be a little biased (and naive?) due to my own childhood. I'm not writing this post to judge anyone or make myself seem more spiritual than anyone. I'm writing it to explain several reasons why we've never brought the idea of Santa into our house.

  • I want my son to understand GRATITUDE. Mike and I struggled through a LOT of financial issues in the first 5-10 years of our marriage. We kept Christmas and birthdays quite simple, mainly due to the fact that we didn't have any extra money to spare. If we'd taught David about Santa, would he have wondered why Santa brought other kids bigger and better toys than he brought for him? Would he have felt like Santa forgot about him and his list of wants? Would he have wondered if maybe he'd been more naughty than the other kids who got everything on their list when he only got one or two inexpensive things off of his? On the contrary, we taught him from the very beginning of his life that sometimes we have money to buy fun stuff, and other times we just don't. We taught him that Mommy and Daddy work hard and make sacrifices for every little thing we can buy him. We taught him about gratitude for the little things in life rather than constantly asking for bigger and better or for more. While other children showed off all their new toys, thinking Santa must have seen them being good, David knew that his gifts had nothing to do with being good or bad--they were given out of love. No matter who they're from, someone made a sacrifice and thought of him, and I expect him to show gratitude for each and every gift given to him. 

  • Christmas is about LOVE and SACRIFICEOn a spiritual note, if Christmas is a reminder and celebration of Christ giving up Heaven in order to give us a gift we don't deserve and can never earn, then how have we turned that into telling our children that Santa (not Jesus) is always watching them to see if they've been bad or good? As if they might earn or rightfully deserve their gifts? The ultimate gift was given out of sacrifice by a God who loved us while we were still in our sin. And as we continue that giving spirit, why not teach our kids from the beginning that their gifts are given out of love and sacrifice, as well?

  • It's all about JESUS, nothing else. I struggle enough with the concept of Santa, but when Elf on the Shelf came out, it really bothered me on a deep level. Why? Because it actually works. Parents, grandparents, and even teachers use it quite often in the month leading up to Christmas to get kids to behave. I'll admit, it's cute, and it can be fun. But once again, if Christmas is a reminder of Christ coming to earth, why use this time of celebration to teach kids to behave for an elf when we could be teaching them early on about living lives of integrity because Jesus, not Santa, sees and hears everything we say and do. He delights in those who pursue righteousness. He hurts when we sin and break our fellowship with him. I don't want my child to simply behave better because there's an elf watching that's going to report his behavior back to Santa. I want my child to behave because he doesn't want to hurt Jesus. He wants Jesus to be happy with him, to delight in him. I want him to behave because he knows it's the right thing, not because it's tied to a present on his list. 
You won't find Santa at our house this Christmas, and that's just the way we want it. You'll find a few pine tree decorations that point upward, reminding us of our eternal home in Heaven. You'll find lights on those trees and around the house, reminding us that we are called to be a light in a dark world. You'll find gifts under the tree (for several weeks leading up to Christmas), reminding us of the best gift we could have ever received. I even have one special tree that I decorate solely with ornaments with many different names of Jesus found in Scripture, reminding me of all the ways He reveals Himself to me through His character. You'll find nativity scenes and even a cross, reminding us that Christ came as Immanuel, God with us, in order to give himself for us. 

(By the way, when Juan came to us, he fit right in because Santa was never part of their Colombian celebrations, either.)

I have many, many Christian friends who teach their children the true meaning of Christmas while simultaneously adding in the fun and traditions of Santa. They wonder how I could let my child miss out on all that magic of Christmas. I wonder the opposite, though. Why not let my child understand the true magic and meaning of Christmas from the very beginning?

Like I said, this is not meant to pass judgement on anyone. It's just a simple explanation with a little food for thought. 

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