I love Christmas. The whole shebang. For as long as I can remember I’ve started my Christmas shopping in June. Started sneaking listens to Christmas music in September. Stockpiled glittery red dresses and Christmas shirts for my kids from thrift stores year round.
I love the traditions the cookies and the stories that surround Christmastime.
But last week, when my 5 year old asked me if Santa was real… I couldn’t not tell him the truth.
There are so many stories that circulate this time of year. Elf on the shelf. Rudolph. Frosty the Snowman. Santa. Buddy the Elf. That eggnog tastes good. The stories make this time of year sparkle. They fill us with whimsy and wonder and excitement for what is to come. But they don’t hold a candle to the other Story we tell this time of year.
Sometimes I wonder what happens in our children’s minds when the truth gets mixed in with all that fiction.
When my sweet little boy asked me if Santa was real, I just couldn’t say yes. I just couldn’t perpetuate the confusion, the dilution, that is Christmas these days.
So here is what I said:
“Well Colton, answer me this… Are superheroes real? (this is a conversation we’ve already had multiple times)
“We know it’s really fun to pretend that there are superheroes. But the truth is, there’s no one magic (wo)man that can beat up all the bad guys. Instead, there are lots and lots of good people who go to work every day as policemen and firefighters that help protect us all and keep us safe. And there are even more people, just regular people like you and me, who do kind things all the time. They help people that need help and work to make our world a happier place. And all of us working together can do more than one superhero could ever do.
“and Santa Claus is the person we say brings gifts and joy on Christmas Eve. But really, what brings us happiness is each other. The things we do together. The family we get to see, the special things we do as friends and family. And of course the gifts we choose for each other. But the thing that truly brings us joy is the reason we celebrate Christmas – that baby Jesus came to the world and through Him God sent his son to save us from our sins. That’s what we are really celebrating at Christmas time.
“I’m telling you this because I want you to know that I will never lie to you about things that are really important. When I tell you something is true, I want you to believe me. We can tell lots of stories and have lots of fun, but at the end of the day I want to always be someone you know will tell you the truth.”
And after all of that, my sweet son looked me in the eye and said in all seriousness: “Mommy you are wrong. I KNOW Santa is real. I sat on his lap.”
You win some you lose some.
And to all a good night.