I remember like it was yesterday.
It was early one Christmas morning.
I thought for SURE I had beat everyone else up.
I was certain to get my stocking first!
I wasn't the first one up.
There, at the stockings was none other than my mother.
Now, I don't remember my reaction or what my mother told me.
I don't even remember feeling all that surprised or heartbroken.
All I remember is knowing one thing for sure.
Santa wasn't real.
Looking back on it today, I wonder what my children will say when they find out Santa's not real.
Will they be not-surprised and shrug and move on?
Will they be heartbroken and feel betrayed by the years of lies and deceit?
Will they be resentful and come to hate Christmas?
Am I setting my babies up to be scarred for life . . ?
Of course I don't REALLY think that.
I don't think anyone's been scarred for life learning the truth about Santa Claus.
And the beauty of it is that we can teach our children to take over for us - to become little "Santa's" in their own way.
By teaching them that it's better to give than receive.
By teaching them that kindness and gentleness is always better than cruelty or violence.
And by teaching them to care for those that are less fortunate.
In doing these things, we can teach our kids that, no, Santa isn't real. But his SPIRIT can live on through us forever.
Because, you see, Santa Claus was a REAL person, once upon a time.
His name was Nicholas and he was a bishop in the city of Myra in what is now Turkey.
Nicholas stood up for his faith and was persecuted and eventually executed because of it.
We remember his devotion to charity and faith in the creation of Santa Claus.
You can read his whole story here, if you like!
So, in that respect, maybe "playing Santa" isn't quite so bad.
We are honoring the spirit and memory of an amazing man of faith that taught us all the spirit of giving.
So, go ahead and fill your children's stockings to the brim, and as you do, think of the Spirit of St. Nick!
Blessings to you all!