Facebook is the latest greatest venue for the accusation, er uh, I mean discussion. I see it and I scroll. I don't really have a dog in the fight right now, and how other people celebrate or worship doesn't really concern me either way.
What I know is that faithful, loving, well-meaning parents want to do the "right thing" on every issue and when you have little ones this is important. What I know is that either way, any parent who is thinking about the impact of this on their children is the same kind of parent who bathes, feeds, loves, snuggles, reads and protects their kidlets. And so a child blessed with a parent who is thoughtfully discerning their parenting decisions down to the celebration of Christmas, is going to be just fine, whichever choice they make.
Some arguments I have heard:
Santa judges based on Naughty and Nice and that is against the Gospel
Saint Nicholas was a person. He was not Christ. Unconditional love and forgiveness comes from Christ. As adults we are called to be like our Father but this idea of naughty and nice is not based on the salvation, it's based on reaping what you sow. It's a lesson of consequences and reality. When your child is throwing a hissy fit in the store do you buy the toy? Nope. Is that against the Gospel? No. Since we are adults here it takes only a google search to find the story of Saint Nicholas punching Arius in the face at a Council for heresy, and in defense of God and truth. It's my favorite Naughty/Nice story.
If you lie about Santa, why should they believe you about God?
This makes sense. So we made a point of establishing truths from the beginning. Saint Nicholas was a real person. Christmas is from Christ's Mass. Gift giving in His honor, and as as the wise men did at His birth is joyful. Saint Nicholas liked to give gifts. The Holy Spirit is real and active in our lives. Faith without works is dead. Do unto others as you would have it done unto you. Wonderful people like the Saints leave behind beautiful legacies of faith and traditions. Traditions teach us good things, and build good habits in us. As the apostles went about preaching and evangelizing the Word of God, they encountered pagans and people with traditions and celebrations that worshipped idols in place of God. They recognized that even in their error they were seeking their Creator, a power greater than themselves. The apostles used some of their practices and symbols to teach them about God and the fullness of truth they were missing. The trees are the creation, God is the Creator. They are evergreen, like His love for us. Christ died on a tree. Place a star at the top and the Nativity below it and remember Christ's birth. You see where I'm going here?
When the question comes, but is Santa Claus real?
I would respond with, which part?
Does he bring the toys?
I would say, yes and no. The legacy and tradition of giving and generosity by lots of secret Santas happens EVERY year. Especially for the poor, in this way we are all Santa. Is there just one person, who is hundreds of years old, not that I know of, but I don't know everything. (which frankly is the most honest answer any parent can ever give to a child)
I know this. I believe in miracles. Some people misunderstand they call it magic, but I believe in miracles. I believe in a God that answers prayers. I believe in Angels and Saints. I know there was a St. Nicholas and I know lots of people are Secret St. Nicholas' right now. Sometimes moms and dads, aunts and uncles, grandma's and grandpa's and even people we don't know.
You better believe there are Saints. And Saint Nicholas' or Santa Claus (which is just another language) are everywhere.