Oh what joyous memories the Christmas season brings! Long lines at the malls and department stores, no parking places for miles, more rude agitated customers than you can shake a stick at, and of course, parents who lie to their kids with a big smile on their face...all of these things have marked the modern reality of the Christmas season.
"What's Santa gonna bring you, little girl?", this has been the most popular question asked to my 3 year old daughter for the past 3 weeks. What the questioners don't realize is that at my house, we don't condone lying to our children. Yeah, I know, we're fanatics. I've been called that more times than once. And, surely, telling your kids about Santa is not that bad, right? It's just all fun and games, right?
This is where our modern society is and dare I say, even in our "Christian" circles. We have minimized sin, but why? I've asked many people, should we punish rapists? "Absolutely!", they cry. Should we punish murderers? Again, they say, "Absolutely!" Child molesters? "Absolutely!" Well, what about liars? "Ummm, no, of course not...everybody tells lies and sometimes we have to."
Do you see our mentality here? We believe punishment is just for those really gross sins, but those little sins, well, they're not so bad. We believe those little sins are not so bad because they're our sins. It's so easy to condemn others, but when it comes to our little pet sins, let's not be too hasty with our judgment. This is the plight of the guilty. Those who are guilty of crimes would much rather justify themselves rather than admit that they're criminals deserving a penalty.
Now, rewind a few weeks ago. I took my daughter with me to work one day. A lady had taken Ellie for a walk to show her some interesting things and when she returned, the lady asked me, "Jeremy, what in the world are you teaching this girl?" A bit confused, I asked her to explain and she then proceeded to tell me that Ellie proclaimed to her that Santa Claus was a liar! Was I a bit embarrassed by my daughter's lack of etiquette? Maybe a little. Was I embarrassed by the truth that she was trying to convey? Absolutely not. Was I proud? Proud as a peacock! I am so glad that Ellie, at 3 years old, is understanding and even proclaiming truth!
So, why don't we take part in all the little reindeer games? Here's the bottom line for me: anything that comes between you and God is idolatry. God has an extreme disgust and hatred for this sin. Now, when we lie to children and tell them there is some fat guy in a red suit who's watching over you and knows whether you've been bad or good, and is going to be the one who gives you presents, then we've just replaced Jesus Christ. This is idolatry in its most cunning sense. People, even professing Christians, willingly and deliberately lie to their children all for the sake of "fun and games". There is only One who is omnipresent and omniscient and His name is not Kris Kringle. His name is Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the Great I Am...there is no god like Him neither will there be any god after Him. He will not share His glory with any other.
When God provides work for us as parents and allows us to earn a living, we give Him all the honor and glory. When He allows us to buy presents for our daughter, we tell her plainly, these are from us because God provided for us. We teach her to thank Him and not some fictional fairy tale.
Another major concern is that the children finally realize their parents are liars, and they've been lying about some fictional character who's brought them visible presents for years. Then, the parent tells them to believe in Jesus. He'll save you from your sins! Even the sin of lying! But, why should the child believe in a Jesus whom they've never seen? They actually saw Santa at the mall and spoke face to face with him and told him all the many things they wanted. But, he was a lie. Why should they trust their parents now? Yikes, what a dilemma lying parents put themselves into all for the sake of "fun". "Children, the Bible says not to lie! Liars will be friers according to Rev. 21:8! But, I'm your parent, and it's ok to lie as long as it's all for fun." God forgive us.