Is Santa Real?
At church the other day, my pastor randomly made a comment about Santa Clause not being real. She didn’t mean to offend anyone, there was no harm intended, and I’m sure she probably wasn’t thinking about the problems and situations this could cause at home. That being said, my hands were full with my kids and an abundance of questions directly following worship.
My middle child asks me, “Mom, tell me the truth. Is Santa really real?”
I’ve always been able to directly avoid this question with, “What do you think?”
That wasn’t going to work this time. My daughter wasn’t having it. She was downtrodden and a little depressed. She always kind of new that mom and dad buy presents. She’s mentioned it before, however, there has always been a little hope, a spark of something perhaps that allowed her to believe that there was a little bit of magic that occurred every Christmas night.
“Mom, just answer me, is Santa real?”
I thought about it begrudgingly- thinking that kids have too much reality in their lives these days, wondering why the church would have to remove the simplicity, the magic, the hope that exists in a young child’s heart. I was also conflicted. I want my kids to believe in Christ, that isn’t an option for them while they live with me, so is teaching them to believe in Santa a bad thing?
I answered her with, “No matter what you believe in, God is real and that is what Christmas is about.”
“Mom, duh. BUT I WANT TO KNOW, IS SANTA REAL?”
I hated this conversation. I was frustrated. I bit my lower lip, my stress response. I took a deep breath and decided to think really hard about what I was saying before I answered her. I remembered the times when we had nothing and we weren’t able to afford anything more than our house note. I remember the times when WIC, food stamps, or the Salvation Army saved my behind so my kids could have a Christmas while I was in school. I remember looking at my husband with dread while wandering off to the store, hoping to find something on clearance for the kids. I also remember opening the mail box the week of Christmas, after praying for a miracle, and finding a hundred dollar bill in an envelope for my family. I remember that happening five times that year, all in different handwriting, all saying something to the effect of, “God Bless your family on Christmas, Love Santa.” I remember not knowing where in the world the money came from, because I know my family’s handwriting and it wasn’t them. I remember the way I felt wrapping the gifts for my children, knowing only a week before there was not a chance I would have had anything for them.
My eyes sparkled a little bit and I looked at my daughter and gave her a hug. “Yes kiddo, I believe Santa is real.”