The greatest gift, not in a red suit

My kids don’t know who Santa Claus is.

They watched all the children running to get in the “sit-on-Santa’s-lap” line at the Christmas tree lighting. They saw him at Walmart. To them, he’s a large funny looking older man with a white beard and red coat. They don’t get it.

My husband, thinking it might be wise to do a little explaining, tells the “legend of Santa Claus” — that kind old man who brings toys to boys and girls. He leaves out the bit about the elves and the reindeer. Still, their interest in the man in the red suit lasts only a few seconds. Christmas lights are much more entertaining to them.

And the thought crosses my mind — these kids, the ones pressing closer, clutching their wish lists…they’ve been hyped up on Santa. They’ve been taught to seek him, they’ve been coming to sit on his lap since they were infants, they are beginning to think maybe he CAN fit down the chimney. They’re being taught to believe in him.

It’s not natural to believe in things we can’t see. We want to touch and feel and experience. But movies and songs tell the story of the season — it’s all about belief in the good of Santa, belief in the spirit of giving and happiness that Christmas brings, even if we can’t see him, even if we don’t see reindeer tracks on our rooftops. We call it magic. It gives us goosebumps.

But what about the Gift in the manger? What about the Savior we didn’t get to meet? The God we can’t see? The One who has our very best interest at heart and who gives us gifts all year round, not just at Christmastime? What about the God who sent His only Son to save us from ourselves? Who landed in the dirtiest of fireplaces to be the greatest gift we could ever wish for?

They won’t know about this gift without being taught. They won’t give the manger child more than a glance if they don’t know the story, if they haven’t heard the glory in our voices. They need to catch the magic, feel the goosebumps. It IS the greatest story ever told.

It’s time we hype up Jesus. It’s His lap I want my kids sitting on.

They might not know who Santa is. But my kids DO know who Jesus is.

“For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Strong God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.”
(Isaiah 9:6 -The Message)


Mother of boys and lover of Jesus, Laura {AKA “The Housewife”} blogs over at Housewife in Town about healthy recipe discoveries, preschool learning activities, hiking and traveling with small children, good books to read, and more. She loves quilting, photography, music and writing. A good day = much time spent outside.

4 Responses to The greatest gift, not in a red suit
  1. robin
    December 16, 2011 | 8:03 pm

    Interesting and creative Christmas reminder of how and who we teach our children by our excitement and enthusiasm.
    Thank you Laura.

  2. Tim Kyle
    December 16, 2011 | 11:04 pm

    My kids (who may suspiciously resemble the “housewife’s” kids) don’t care about Santa because I neglected to tell them.

    I’m not against Santa. I was brought up to look forward to his visit every year. I meant to tell them about jolly ol’ Saint Nick, but there was always something more pressing to talk about or going on. When I did try and tell my kids about Santa Claus, it was too late. They didn’t listen or even care. In fact, they looked at the long line of kids waiting to have their picture taken with Santa with a little disdain.

    I guess my kids have missed out on the exciting myth of Santa. But I won’t let them miss the truth of an even greater giver and his gift of Christmas.

    Merry Christmas.

  3. Michele
    December 17, 2011 | 10:58 pm

    I. Love. This. Post. So beautifully expressed and so full of truth! “It’s His lap I want my kids sitting on.” Now that’s a good word. 🙂

  4. Barbie
    December 17, 2011 | 11:31 pm

    I love this post. I have allowed my children to believe in the spirit of Christmas. We try to focus more on giving. I allow them to believe with children they know who believe in Santa, but my kids know their presents are from mom and dad. Thank you for writing!