I do not have children, nor will I probably ever. So, take the thoughts I share here with a grain of salt. Clearly, not having the experience of raising them puts me at a distinct disadvantage when giving advice in raising them. However, I also feel that distance provides room for objective, logical reasoning.
When you think about Christmas, and children, you can presume a few things about the traditions shared with them. Most parents teach their children about Santa Claus, explain that he brings them lots of gifts… as well as their relatives. Most children wake up opening dozens of presents.
As an adult, growing in faith in God, this practice strikes me odd for a couple of reasons. Why, do we feel the need to create a fantasy character who only seems to exists as an excuse to give gifts to our children? Could that create trust issues in God, or our parents, later down the road once they find out Santa exists only as a figment of our imagination?
Just as concerning, to me, I wonder if we do not teach our children the completely wrong lesson by showering them with gifts. We complain this generation feels so entitled. Is it any wonder when we take a holiday based on Jesus and the spirit of giving, and spend it lavishing our children with presents? We teach best through actions, not words… would we not better teach them the spirit by having them spend the day, with us, helping/serving others rather than heaping materialistic possessions on them?
Now, please do not misunderstand. I do not suggest parents should not give their children nice things. However, the context and method of how we gift to a young person has importance. I suggest that on a holiday based on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the spirit of giving, we demonstrate the wrong lessons by our current traditions. We then reap the harvest of such seeds when they grow with a spirit of distrust and selfishness.
Some parents try to counter these obvious errors by showing Christmas movies or sharing stories that illustrate the true reason for the season. However, I would suggest that actions speak much more loudly than words.
Choose this day who you will serve. Will you say, like Joshua, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”? Or will you continue to follow the pattern of the world?