We do a Christmas party every year for our team at church. For the past few years, we have hosted the party at our house. One of the highlights of the party is when Santa (me) shows up. There’s nothing like a 6′ 6″ Santa coming through the front door with bells and the loudest “Ho, ho, ho” you’ve every heard from Santa (those who have experienced it or know me know what I’m talking about).
A great side benefit to being Santa is being Santa to my youngest blonde boy, Chase, who is 5. I thought for sure he would know it was me, but the “Santa” is just too hard to get around, I guess. There is nothing quite like looking into the eyes of a child who truly believes you are the real Santa as he shares with you all that he wants for Christmas.
He told me that he wanted a Game Boy Advanced, a small Christmas tree for his room, an ornament for the tree, and a big pillow like his dad has. We already had the Game Boy, and after experiencing that moment you know I went out and got him a tree, ornament, and pillow (I think Santa will be delivering that personally to his room on Christmas Eve).
There are some who believe that you shouldn’t encourage kids to believe in Santa – that you are lying to them. That’s OK if that what you think. In fact, we were like that with our other blonde boy, Connor (now 12). With Chase, we decided to lighten up and not be so uptight and if he wanted to believe in Santa, that was OK with us.
Now, I don’t have any definitive answers as to whether that is ultimately the best decision or even the “right” one. Don’t worry, we still keep the emphasis of Christmas on Jesus. In fact, Santa had a talk with Chase about whether Chase had accepted Jesus into his heart (Chase had, and Santa confided in Chase that he had, too).
The light that went on for me as I played Santa to my believing son was about the nature of belief. Jesus said that our faith should be like that of a child. In that moment of interaction with my son, I saw what that looked like in a whole new way – maybe even for the first time. Chase wasn’t concerned about whether my beard was real. He wasn’t bothered that he didn’t hear a sleight pull up out front or even that the rest of the party go-ers seemed to have an inside track as to who this Santa fellow was. He just believed that it was Santa.
Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t examine the claims of our faith. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t understand that Christianity rooted in historical fact. What I am saying is that sometimes when God says, “Go,” or “Do this,” we should just say, “OK.” I’m saying that when God stand with hands stretched out to us that we should run into them without wondering what the catch is.
I don’t know that I’m fully let this all percolate in my noodle, yet. I don’t know that I’ve fully grasped all the ramifications.
What I do know is that I saw belief through the eyes of a child toward Santa and I was humbled with regard to how I approach my faith in God.
More on Santa tomorrow.