Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More About Santa

Following up from my last post regarding Santa Claus, here is a great article by Noel Piper (wife of John Piper) on how her family has addressed the Santa issue.


  1. OK. Seems like all the big guns including Driscoll, and now Noel Piper have Santa issues. What sane man in his "right" mind could question that band wagon? I think if you have actually taught your children to believe in Santa in the same way you teach them to believe in Jesus you might need to do some thinking. If you teach your children the same way at every stage of their life, you might need to do some thinking. And since December 25th is the day Jesus was born, 2010 years ago, and we are clearly taught in the Bible (our Authority in matters of Faith and Practice)to emphasize His First Advent with gift exchanges and festivities, dress in red and green,.... Guys: we are sent as missionaries to a foreign (not from Heaven)culture, looking for ways to translate the Gospel in cultural contexts and with cultural reference points, to redeem the "good" and to illustrate how Jesus is Better (Hebrews). We can't merely teach our children truth and error; we do need to teach and model for them how to engage and interact with the world He sent them to: in kindness and sensitivity, and genuinely looking for the things that are good and excellent and praiseworthy. Even Mrs. Piper acknowledged some "good" about Santa. Poor Driscoll is getting it for talking about an old preacher that may have been the/a source for the story. I wish Santa was the biggest threat to my children's right view of God and their presentation of Him to their world! Sadly it is their own nature, that they got from their dad that is their biggest threat to loving God and loving people. If we can blog and tweet and FB and podcast in community: are we doing it for a closed community of "clean" and "right(agree with us)" people? Are we trying to separate from those "others" or clean ourselves up or keep from getting "dirty"? How can the "dirty" feel welcomed and have their needs (physical and spiritual) met in Church if we can't handle the mess? What kind of impact our we trying to prepare for regionally? Are really ready for what is gonna' go if he gets our hearts and turns us toward their need? Do we really want to go where He went? If Christians can't effectively negotiate Santa Claus with their families as sent ones, what are they going to do with Sports and Sports Idols, Consumerism, peer pressure, vanity, pride, "name your idol"?... ah well...I am old. My kids are grown; I probably twisted and warped their little psyches, I guess. Ruined them. I hope to have grandkids instead of just grand-puppies some day. I am pretty sure of my take on Santa with them: I'll pull out the video of me I did for/with my kids where I walked them through Luke (with illustrations inserted I must say) and taught them how to treasure the Gift, know the truth about Santa, properly keep fantasy and faith in proper contexts, and model and teach them how to enjoy the stories of Rudolph and Santa as children and WITH other children from homes who lived a different way. (I think I debunked the wise men's vist to the Manger then, too: I know, I know, "appalling!") When I first showed that video to my folks in 1990, my parents (Santa believers) seemed to think I had done their viewpoint justly and kindly. I like Christmas. I like Santa. I really like Rudolph. (My wife loves the Grinch-why isn't the Grinch taking a hit?) I'm done. Sorry. What sane man could possibly tweak that band wagon?

  2. Chris,
    Not a scholar so you know who this is; however I am a believer and my 3 young children will be told the story of St. Nick (He was a Pope and real; not make believe) and the good he did and the prayer we pray that has even been said at church...however the whimsicle Santa is fun and kids enjoy the decorations and other things that come with the season; however they will be told the real reason for the season....but they are kids.....let them be kids.....let their eyes light up when they see santa or when they open presents as they will know the difference between real and make believe. Lets not be so literal that our children are not given the time to expand their creative and imaginative side of their brains as before you know it they will be out of the home and need to be well rounded.....ahh well talk to you more at Cracker Barrel.

  3. Wow, I never realized Bethel had so many Santa haters. Truth be told, I have a hard time with what I call "fundamentalist truth tellers." You know, the ones who say, you should alllllllllways tell the truth.

    The first time I met a fundamentalist truth teller was in a men’s bible study group. There was one particular person who said, "God would never want you to lie so you must always tell the truth no matter what." I mean after all, it’s always just a simple black and white issue, right? And we Christians love to live in the black and white.

    My fundamentalist truth telling friend was asked if he lived during WWII and was hiding Jews and the Nazi’s knocked on his door and said, "do you have Jews hiding here," you were obligated to say yes. Or if they asked do you know of anyone hiding Jews and you knew, you must say yes, "after all" he said, "God hates lying, and lying is a sin." (I’m not making this up!)

    Or if your wife asks if you think she’s fat or if the dress she’s wearing is ugly and you thought so, you were required to say yes. It’s a simple black and white issue...

    Funny but this past week I ran across an elderly friend of mine, she’s in her late seventies and is caring for her mother who is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s and is in her nineties. I asked my friend how things are going and she said "I’ve never had to lie so much in my life." Oh, I said, how so and she answered, every time she goes to see her mom, her mother asks when her husband is coming to pick her up? Problem is her husband has been dead for over a decade. My friend used to say, "mom, dad has passed away" which would bring on a torrent of crying and weeping and other emotions. My friend now simply says, "Dad will be here soon mom..." which would bring a glow of excitement and anticipation to her mom. My friend also has a hard time with the fundamentalist truth tellers.

    Another interesting thing I frequently find about fundamentalist truth tellers is that it oftentimes brings such a sense of pride inside, even congratulating themselves for being a fundamentalist truth teller.

    "You tell your kids there’s a Santa?" "How could you do such a thing?” "It’s just a simple black and white issue, isn’t it?" "After all, this is just another worldly battle we are in and we are going to battle and die on the Santa Claus hill."

    Yeah, I'll admit it, I do have a hard time with fundamentalist truth tellers.


  4. Tom,

    Thanks for your comments. They are well thought out.

    The issues that you bring up are much bigger than a discussion about Santa Claus, and perhaps down the road I can address the whole issue of "fundamentalist truth telling." I certainly wasn't trying to address that issue here.

    I think you would agree that Nazi Germany, and parent with Alzheimer's (I will leave out the "fat" issues with your wife) are much bigger and in a completely different category than Santa Claus.

    For me, this issue is primarily a discipling issue with our children. Our responsibility as Christian parents is to point our children to Jesus at all times and to be extremely careful that nothing interferes with that. So, when my child asks me if there is a Santa Claus it isn't primarily about telling the truth (although I think we should) it's about point them to Christ.




About Me

I am a husband to Eva, father of 4, pastor, and most of all passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of my life is to make the most of every opportunity God gives me to bring glory to Him. Outside of the time spent in my role as a pastor, I spend most of my time with my family -- a good deal of that coaching various sports teams that my children are involved with. Every fall and winter you will find me rushing to the woods of Indiana and West Virginia in search of a monster whitetail buck.