My sweet Sarah Kate still believes in Santa.
She is only 8, so this statement may not surprise you. Many, dare I say, most children believe in Santa. But, Santa does not grace our chimney. He does not bring beautifully wrapped packages to place under our Christmas tree. He does not declare the familiar Ho-ho-holiday greeting from our rooftop.
Yet, she believes.
I cannot pinpoint where her belief began. Since our first Christmas as parents we taught our children the true story of Saint Nicholas and his evolution into our modern-day Santa. We do not ignore him, but use his generosity as an example of what our response should be to the amazing grace that we have been given. They are instructed to protect the magic of Santa for all children who believe.
Last year, out of the blue, she began to ask to visit Santa. She wrote a letter to him. She expected gifts from him. We sat her down and retold the story of Saint Nicholas. We explained that we follow his example and give gifts to others. We watched Why Do We Call It Christmas together and talked about it afterward.
She still believes in Santa.
And, then the elf. Oh, my the elf! She has also asked for an elf to come make mischief at our house. I asked her what she believes about the elves now that she has seen them on the shelf at the store during our last Christmas shopping trip. “You can buy one, but some of them come from the North Pole to cause mischief.”
They are causing mischief, indeed! I want to fight Santa and elves and commercialism. I want to focus on Christ and redemption. I want to use our family traditions to lead my children to feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the Gift of Christmas.
I took my frustration to Daddy to see what wisdom he could offer.
“She is 8. If she still believes when she is 16, then we will worry.”
Sigh. Not the answer I had hoped to get. I am working on listening to him more, so I took this as my sign to stop fighting Santa.
What will I do with Santa? We will watch our DVD about Christmas again. We will celebrate Christ’s love through the giving of gifts on Christmas morning, just as Saint Nicholas did 1700 years ago. I will take a little extra time by the Christmas tree with my Sweet Baby to share the Christmas stories–both of them.
Then [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying . . . ‘The kingdom of heaven is like . . .’ Matthew 13:3, 24
I will do this prayerfully and carefully in an effort to protect the beautiful light of innocence and joy inside her. Through the parable of Santa, I hope to teach my little believer what the kingdom of heaven is like. It is like love and gifts and sacrifice.
Yes, Sarah Kate, there is a Santa Claus!