I haven’t been shopping for Christmas yet. Maybe that makes me a Scrooge. But maybe it keeps me sane. The older I get, the less interested I am in celebrating the birth of my Savior by gathering up a bunch of gadgets and giving them to people who struggle to manage all the gadgets they already have.
But this post isn’t about me. It’s about Santa Claus. Sort of.
We have never made a big deal of Santa at our home. Yes, he “came,” but he only ever brought one gift per child. Don’t get me wrong — our kids had plenty for Christmas — but maybe the petty part of me didn’t want Santa to get all the credit.
I’ve written about this before, but I every year at this time, I think again about the weird Santa-conomy in our society: Everything revolves around getting stuff, and teaches that “he knows if you’ve been bad or good,” and that he’ll come to your home on one condition — IF you’ve been good. Therefore, when parents have little or no resources to buy gifts for Christmas, the logical conclusion is not “Mommy doesn’t have much money,” (since Mommy isn’t bringing the presents) but “I’m no good.”
We have become adept at defacing true and wondrous beauty — the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, in this case — twisting, subverting and complicating it to the point where no one recognizes the real thing any more.
And while we’re on this topic, I have to add my two cents about the Easter Bunny. While I get the correlation between giving gifts and the birth of Christ, I just can’t do the same for His resurrection. And so the Easter bunny has never been part of our family traditions. My kids complained about the awkward moments when their friends would ask, “What did you get for Easter?” I told them, “Just say, ‘I got redemption.” They would roll their eyes then and claim they’d be scarred for life.
These random thoughts were all floating around in my head in the middle of the night, as I thought of all the dichotomies of Christmas:
Christ was born in the most simple and humble of circumstances, but the world commemorates His birth in the most complicated way imaginable. He gave us all of the greatest gifts of Heaven and earth, but the world buys up gifts of no worth. He gives to all freely, and forbids none to come unto Him, but the world celebrates a Christmas that is only for those with money to spend.
Our Santa-conomy encourages us to buy the perfect gifts, put up the perfect decorations, make the perfect food — and we plan for that perfect Christmas, year after year. But without the enduring light of Christ, our Christmas is incomplete, inconsequential, and distracting.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.