Thursday, December 13, 2007

Santa, The True Meaning Of Christmas, And The Big Hypocrisy

The Christmas season has become one of my most revered times of the year. The main reason is the rock solid hypocrisy involved with it. Nothing warms the cockles of my heart then to see the birds flying when one person cuts another off to get a mall parking spot. There isn’t any denying that nostalgic sensation you feel when you hear the stories of two grandmothers slugging it out in a toy store over the latest talking furry fad. If you want to see the story of Christmas in full glory, read the latest story about the guy who was in debt and under so much stress to buy gifts that he just decided it was easier to blow his brains out. Oh yah, all year long we tell our kids not to trust strangers. Yet Christmas time we are more then willing to send our children to sit on the lap of a dirty old man unable to get work doing anything other then playing Santa Clause. Maybe because he just got out of prison for child abuse.

Ah Satan Claws is my favorite holiday icon. He has become the single biggest marketing gimmick ever created. It isn’t good enough your children get presents from you and your family. No, the extra money is wrung from your pocket book so you can get them this gift from this old flying dude who closes one of his nostrils, sniffs some “magic dust” and goes fly of into outer space whipping his reindeer. (A related post can be found here.)

So let me make sure we are all on the same page. Christmas is a holiday to celebrate Jesus Christ. Jesus is the very “son of god” who advocates the 10 commandments. Of which one is, “Thou shall not bear false witness”. Now that commandment doesn’t come with a stipulation “except when talking to a child under nine as long as it is a fairytale so you don’t have to explain Jesus to them.” I have read the big list a few times from a few different sources and not once did it make any exceptions. This Jesus Christ is also the same one that advocates giving away your material wealth and accepting love as the greatest gift. (There is a comments section on these blogs. I am an agnostic myself, so please feel free to set me straight if I have this wrong.)

Even though these rules are pretty solid, every Christmas there is another TV special add to the classic ones that convince children “they must believe.” (I could and one day will do another post on why Christians, especially ones from the land of plenty, need to sugar coat the Jesus story to sell it to the next generation.) “You must believe in Santa Clause or you won’t get any presents.” “You had better be a good boy or girl or else Santa won’t bring you any presents.” “That’s it!! Santa isn’t bringing any presents this year!!” Why is there such a social determination to keep up this rouse. Let alone use it as a parenting technique. My favorite I have ever heard was “If you are lying to me Santa won’t bring you any presents this year!”

I told my wife recently that our daughter would always know that Santa Clause is just a Fairytale. She looked at me horrified at first. She even tried to tell me that she would tell her that” her daddy is nuts, and he is a scrooge.” I explained to her how that chess game would play our when at about 8 or 9 she realizes “daddy had been truthful with her all along.” Then who is she going to trust? My wife’s sister had the same reaction saying, “Please don’t tell her around my children.” Every time I tell people that my child will never be told the lie of Satan Claws, they look at me as if I just told them I was a child molester.

It is Christmas. You are lying to your children on Jesus’ birthday. I am willing to bet that 98% of American children know more about Santa Clause then they do about Jesus Christ. Ask your children if they know where Santa lives, why he comes, what happens if you break his rules, how often we celebrate him, or even just his full name. Ask your children the same basic questions about Jesus and see if their answers are so defined and resolved.


What do you think psychologically happens on that special day when your child finally comes to terms with the fact that you have been misleading them? They will think, “Wait, if Santa is fake, so is the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy, and who is this Jesus guy anyway. At least the other fairies brought me presents, chocolate, and money. What did that Jesus guy bring me anyway? He can walk on water. I would sooner believe in flying reindeer. My parents always told me ‘not to lie’, but they have been lying to me all this time.” That is what goes through their head either consciously or sub-consciously.

I wouldn’t be so animate about this topic if it wasn’t for the fact that Americans especially have a huge disconnect between their “Christian based beliefs” and the actual teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe that disconnect starts at an early age. Any more it starts earlier in the year too. Jesus doesn’t condone killing a bunch of people inside their homes because there is a .000000001% chance they might find a way to get over to America and kill somebody at a mall. He certainly doesn’t subscribe to the “nuke ’em all” theory. (Look for this to come up in a post real soon.)

So, Merry Christ’s Mass. Peace on Earth through forgiveness and self-sacrifice. Let us take time to reflect and give thanks to God for sacrificing his only son to the torture of being human so that we may understand what it takes to get into paradise. For that is the true spirit of Christmas.

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