Reconciling Symbols And Truth

 Matthew 22:16 And they sent their disciples to Jesus, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.”

So, this is the first year that my kids will really enjoy Christmas.  They have now reached an age where they are noticing more and more and beginning to understand the upcoming holiday season. This has caused a dilemma though because as a family we choose not to do Santa.  We prefer to keep the focus on the holiday season being representative of Jesus and His kingdom message.

In doing this though, I have told my children that Santa is not real.  We have explained to them that the idea of “Santa” came from a man named Saint Nicholas who was generous and gave children presents during the winter season.  We have read books and watched YouTube clips pertaining to this subject. It is now standard in our household to engage in daily conversations about Christmas being about Jesus’ … because Christmas is getting closer and the excitement is growing.

A prime example of this came tonight while an exhausted me sat with the boys over supper in the MacDonald’s play place.  Bennet leaned over and said, “Christmas is God’s birthday.”  I told him that yes, he was quite correct.  Then he leaned over to me and said, but God isn’t real.  Well, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “No honey, God is real it is Santa that is….”

OOPS!  Surrounded by small children at MacDonald’s and here I was about to blurt out that Santa WASN’T real?  What was I thinking?  For a moment my tired mommy brain was about to cause a HUGE kerfuffle with all the other mamas.  Could you imagine?  Me – a total stranger bursting a child’s bubble or causing doubt in his or her mind that a symbolic make believe figure — such as Santa — a magical man who is credited with bringing suspenseful joy and delight to your son or daughter — was not real? These parents would probably demand an apology, but not only that, they might even demand that I tell their children the “truth.”

Well, from my family’s perspective, here is truth. The truth is that when non-Christian children tell my kids that God isn’t “real” and that Jesus was either a “myth” or a “great moral teacher only,” you are not going to apologize for their stance.  When my children are in their teenage years and their peers introduce doubts about their faith (because they don’t believe in sex before marriage) where will these same mom and dads be then? Where are the parents who are going to come knocking on my door to tell me they are so sorry that their child encouraged my child to sin?

When the moment comes that my children go out into the world, (and are invariably judged more harshly because they tell another person they are a Christian), the reality is that nobody is going to apologize.  Because isn’t that what the world does?  A non-Christian person chooses not to drink alcohol and it’s no big deal BUT when the same person who refuses to drink alcohol is a professing Christian, they are somehow labelled and unfairly judged by others and apparently these others – the ones who openly criticize believers — feel it is justified?

Or, when an atheist introduces and/or argues for new legislation and regulations pertaining to sex education, gender neutralization, mind altering drugs and other debatable issues, they are considered acceptable discussions but when an opposing argument (even those that are supported with historical facts) is presented by an adult with Christian beliefs, we are referred to as “nut cases” who can’t possibly know what we are talking about.

What’s with the double standard? Why is freedom of speech a protected right in Canada and yet I (or anyone else with a world view based on faith) can be condemned (without sanctioned repercussions) for standing up for what we believe in? Does the preamble in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982 not state, “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law …” Are my protected rights to express my views under “freedom of religion” and “freedom of speech” not as valid as my fellow tax paying citizens who also live within this country?

So, forgive me if I don’t apologize in advance should one of my children shout out the truth about Santa. Still, it is my hope that you are able to save your children from that same heartbreaking reality in the years to come. Meanwhile, I will do my best to keep my children from crushing your child’s dreams.  However, let me add — maybe those who quickly criticize Christian believers could do the same by teaching their children to openly accept another’s beliefs and faith without condemnation. As such, the world in which we live would be a much better place.

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