“Santa Is Fake!”
The sentence broke my heart. I couldn’t believe it. There was no way. I wouldn’t believe it. But it was too late. My innocence was forever lost the day my then five year old son informed me that "Santa is fake!"
I’ll never forget it. He came home from his Christian school, looked me in the eyes and gave me his bold assertion. He then started grilling me with questions like, "It’s you isn’t it, Daddy? You eat the cookies and drink the milk, not Santa…don’t you?"
"Santa doesn’t leave presents under the tree. You and mommy do…don’t you?"
"Santa’s a fake isn’t he, Daddy?"
But before he could get his final set of CSI-worthy interrogation questions out from over his first set of teeth I interrupted, "Jeremy, tell me what Christmas is really about."
"It’s God’s birthday."
"And why did Jesus come to the earth to be born."
"To die on the cross for our sins."
"Right, Jeremy, that’s the real meaning of Christmas. I tell you that every year and you know it. When it comes to Santa all I’m going to tell you is that there was a real man who lived named St. Nicholas. He loved Jesus and loved children and gave gifts to them in the name of Jesus."
"Well I like him, but I don’t believe in the other one anymore."
That was certainly his prerogative. He went to a great Christian school. I went to a Christian school, too. But my Christian school was so strict and so anti-Santa they could of written the song, "You better watch out. You better not cry. You better be good, I’m telling you why…Santa Claus is dead."
In trying to establish the true meaning of Christmas some of my former teachers often became the Grinches who stole some of the fun out of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a serious problem with the over commercialization of Christmas, the changing of "Merry Christmas" to Happy Holidays, the celebration of a goofy thing like "Winter Solstice" (can you say Koo Koo?), and the vast underemphasis of the real reason for the season.
But come on? The fake Santa was based on the real St. Nicholas, a 4th Century pastor who was beloved for his love of Jesus and children. I would classify jolly old St. Nick as a harmless legend, a fun fantasy, a mischievous myth.
No, I don’t want him to come close to overshadowing the real reason for the season, just like St. Nicholas would never want to distract anybody from the baby Jesus, the real baby Jesus that became the Savior of humanity. The holy/human one who was born of a virgin, raised in obscurity, died on a cross for the sins of humanity and was risen from the dead in power. The real reason for Christmas is so overwhelmingly powerful and the "fake" reason for the season is so unabashedly farfetched, can’t the two (the awesome fact and the fun fiction) live together in relative harmony?
Is it so bad for a forty-five five year old to believe in Santa Claus?
Jeremy loves Jesus. Daddy loves Jesus. Jeremy doesn’t believe in "the fake Santa" anymore. But Daddy is going to still going to leave out milk and cookies.