Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spirituality in “The Santa Clause”

I was a bit of a Santa spoiler as a child. My parents didn’t “do” Santa. In spite of that I had incredible and memorable Christmases. As parents, my wife and I carried that tradition forward. We don’t ban Santa or anything. We just never taught our kids to believe in him. They always knew that he was a "game" that some people played, but we didn't.  We take faith too seriously to cloud the issue with lies—however well meaning they may be.

Ironically, the 1994 movie “The Santa Clause” has something to say about the subject, and actually stumbles upon a very deep truth. When the new Santa arrives at the North Pole for the first time, an elf tells him, “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.”

This is something the Bible teaches as well. Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is the assurance of things not seen. It repeatedly teaches that the Gospel is impossible to understand without faith. This highlights the somewhat misguided attempts of “Modern” Christians who tried to “prove” the truth of the Gospel, or to convince people of the reality of God through reason alone.

The nature of reality is such that faith is something we all have and live with, whether the thing we place our faith in is real or not. Everyone from the Secular Humanist awaiting the perfection of the Human race to the Scientist believing that order is emerging from random chaos to the Islamic extremist anticipating an endless supply of virgins—they all filter their view of reality through faith. We live in a reality that functions that way. Faith is necessary. The hope is that the thing we trust proves itself real—something that Biblical teaching in its orthodox varieties has repeatedly done.

The reality and importance of faith is just another reason parents of faith should avoid trying to convince their children to believe in things that are not true. Teaching a child to believe in both Santa and Jesus might cause confusion down the road when the parent tries to explain that Santa was an elaborate lie while Jesus is a true Savior and Lord.

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