Hey Mom, Are You and Dad Santa?
Well, I had the Santa conversation this past weekend. Honestly I expected it some time ago, but somehow we’ve been able to avert it. This past week I’ve been recovering from a bout of vertigo. I decided to take the weekend to just completely rest and veg out because lying down seems to help significantly. Thankfully Hallmark has already started their Christmas movie bonanza so I had that to help with the boredom. You know how I’m a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies! 🙂
So there I was just lying there in and out of sleep, relishing my Christmas movies, when my son comes in and lays across my bed. Then the question came…
Hey Mom, are you and dad Santa?
I knew this question would come.
In order to prepare for this moment I had even pinned some things that I had come across on Pinterest about how to have this discussion with your kids. Somehow I pictured it going differently in my head. You know, the Pinterest way… Magically (like Santa) I would have just the right warm and fuzzy words. It would be such a heartfelt conversation, maybe even sprinkled with a little tear or two and ending with a loving hug. Obviously, I’ve been watching too many Hallmark movies!
In reality, I just sat there, head spinning mind you, with a dumb stare. Not very Hallmark-y. My mind was already fuzzy, and I just drew a blank. I didn’t even have Eric there to bail me out. He’s in Colorado on a hunting trip. How do I get stuck with these situations? He was out of town when the sex talk came up too. That’s a story for a different day though.
Dumbfounded about what to do, and frantically quizzing myself “What did those Pinterest posts say?!?!” I ended up just saying, “What?” to try to buy some time and say some quiet prayers for wisdom and guidance for the pending conversation.
He repeated himself, this time with a smirk…
Are you and dad Santa?
This was the first year he’s ever worded this question in this way. I’ve always been extremely careful in the past with the way I worded my discussions about Santa. Before, the kids had asked questions like, “Is Santa real?” Then, I would always answer with, “What do you think?” Next, they would always respond with, “I think he’s real.” That typically ended our discussion.
Apparently, this time was not so simple. I quizzed him as to what brought the question on. He said he’d known for a few years. I kind of already figured this. He was old enough now that I knew he knew. I asked him why he felt he “knew” this. He proceeded to give his “evidence” that he’d been gathering. I just smiled and listened without acknowledging or denying. The conversation went in circles for a bit until his younger sister walked in. Whew! I was saved…for now.
The conversation wasn’t finished
The next morning after church he informed me that he wanted to tell me something at home that his small group leader told him in church. When I asked him what it was about he raised his eyebrows and said, “Christmas” as he jetted his eyes toward his little sister as if to warn me not to ask any more questions. “Oh great!” I thought, “Now, his small group leader has gone and told him before I had the chance!” I talked to Eric on the phone that afternoon to let him know that the Santa conversation was imminent.
That night after my daughter had gone to bed, I called my son into my room and asked him what was said at church. “My small group leader said Santa was bad,” he said. “What?!” I said? “Santa is NOT bad!” Then he said that maybe he misunderstood him but he knew he mentioned something about Saint Nicholas.
I said, “Yes, Saint Nicholas is Santa. At least he’s the man we pattern our tradition of Santa after. He WAS a real person, so to get back to our earlier conversation…Santa really is real. Let’s look him up.” We proceeded to briefly research Saint Nicholas on the internet to learn a little more about his history. I pointed out that centuries ago Saint Nicholas, aka Santa, was the face of Jesus to many around him as he showed love to others through his gift giving and good works.
I questioned him about what he felt like he learned from Santa and what he knew about the real meaning of Christmas. I find that posing questions is a good way to lead a conversation. He answered that Santa teaches us to show love to others by giving gifts and that Jesus is the real meaning of Christmas.
“Dad and I have raised you to know and understand the REAL meaning of Christmas. Why do you think Saint Nicholas/Santa gave gifts at Christmas time?”
“Because the wise men brought Jesus gifts,” he said. It was a good answer—I actually hadn’t thought of that at that moment. I was going more for the “gift of Jesus” answer. “What else?” I said as I directed our conversation to the fact that we celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior, pointing out that He was God’s gift to us. “What does John 3:16 say about Jesus?” I quizzed. He answered with the verse…
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)
“That’s the real reason we give gifts at Christmas, to give like God gave. We can celebrate and remember the giving of Jesus by giving to others. Our gift giving and love for others is intended to point people to Jesus.” I stated.
Love God, Love Others… Just like Santa did
Then I asked him what Jesus said the greatest commandments were. “To love God and love others,” was his answer. “Correct!” I said.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)
“The original Santa, Saint Nicholas, understood and lived out this commandment through his life. Saint Nicholas died, but we carry on his traditions at Christmas to point people to Jesus. We carry on the spirit of Santa by being Santa ourselves. So to answer your question about whether dad and I are Santa, the answer is yes, we are.”
I asked him what else he could learn by believing in Santa. He mentioned that it’s kind of like believing in God. We went on to discuss how this spirit and “magic” of Christmas gives us a little practice in using faith. Faith is hoping and believing in things we can’t see.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Not a Hallmark moment, but still okay I guess!
All in all, our discussion was fairly painless and went well. I’m not certain my daughter will have such a practical, emotion-free experience like my son did. However, maybe this experience will help me be more prepared for the next one!
I guess this week’s post was less of a lesson and more of a story about what I learned. I’m not sure how helpful it is for you, if not just for entertainment! But if I had to pass on some practical steps about what I learned…
Take Some Practical Steps to Learn From My Santa “Reveal”:
- Plan ahead! If you know you’re going to have an important conversation someday, don’t procrastinate. Don’t just expect to pin it and remember. You never know, you might have to have this conversation when your spouse is out of town, you have vertigo and are fuzzy-headed, and can’t think clearly. A well-planned, thought out response would come in handy in a situation like this.
- Pose questions instead of giving answers! 😉 Jesus did this quite often. If it was a good enough approach for him, it’s good enough for you and me too!
- Pray for wisdom and guidance. Do this in advance but also in the moment.
- Use teachable moments to always point people to Jesus.
What was your Santa “reveal” like? Share it with us by leaving a comment below!
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