Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Telling the Truth

My wife wrote a post on her blog yesterday about a conversation we had with our kids at breakfast. The kids were talking about living to be 100 years old, and Breena told them that she would be dead when they were 100. That kind of freaked them out, so she reassured them that we would all be together in heaven if we love Jesus. Then she turned to me and asked, "Is that right?"

One of the things we value in our family is telling our kids the truth. That's why we don't do Santa Claus in our house at Christmas. Sure, he's a fun story, but he's portrayed as though he's real, and he most certainly overshadows Jesus during the Christmas season. It's not that we're opposed to fiction or fun stories, it's that we're opposed to fiction portrayed as truth to the point that the real truth is suppressed beneath the fiction. So what does that have to do with going to heaven?

I believe that the truth about heaven gets obscured by the fiction. The popular image is that we become angels when we die, playing harps on clouds and looking out for our loved ones who are still alive on the earth. This is not the biblical image.

So when Breena asked me, "Is that right?", I said, "Well, actually Jesus is going to come back here and reign on the earth." Of course, my little ones don't know what the word reign means, so Breena had me explain it.

"That means Jesus is going to come back and be the king over all the earth. And do you know what else, we are all going to be kings and queens with him!"

I have never seen my kids eyes light up so bright in my life. They could not have been more excited about becoming kings and queens with Jesus. This led into a much longer conversation about how we live on earth, but it was that spark in their eyes and voices that hit me with this epiphany: The truth is life-giving. We tell our kids the truth, not simply because it's the right thing to do, but because it breathes life into their souls. The truth is always better than fiction.

Jesus is better than Santa Claus.

Reigning with Jesus is better than the popular, saccharin picture of heaven.

The truth is better than fiction. Trust your kids. Tell them the truth. They can understand more than you probably realize.


Lindsay Smallman said...

Thanks, Andy. Eric and I have been struggling with what to do about "Santa". Our kids are still too small to really ask about it so we have just not really talked about it. Next year we are going to have to address it though. it's soo hard when our culture plays Santa up soo much. It's definitly something we can pray over and think about until then.

Katie said...

Deciding whether or not to tell your kids about Santa doesn't have to be determined by whether or not you trust them. There are ways to incorporate Santa into your Christmas traditions other than how society does. Being Christian doesn't mean the mystery and excitement of Santa needs to be taken away. Yes, Jesus is better than Santa. How you talk to your kids about Santa determines how they will view him. We celebrate Jesus at Christmas, and tell our child that Santa comes because he loves Jesus and wants to bring gifts to celebrate Jesus. And Jesus gives us all His birthday gifts because He loves us. We trust our children with truth, but they are children still. Mystery is fun. Jesus doesn't have to be undermined or overshadowed by Santa. As the parent you determine that, not our culture.

Bree said...

Breena Holt Honestly, as your kids get older but still very juvenile, they'll naturally choose to get more excited about Santa than Jesus. My kids choose, on their own, to get more excited about presents than Jesus because, well, they're kids! Of course that's what they'll choose! But, since I really stepped in this year and Santa was never brought up as "real", I was able to help them choose Jesus to be more important. And it was a lot of stinkin' work! I never made them feel bad for their excitement about presents...just would gently remind them how exciting it was to celebrate Jesus' birth. So, throwing in Santa in the mix and all that comes with him...I honestly can't imagine how much more difficult it would be to help them realize the awe and wonder in the Christmas story, alone. Again, I think the story of Santa is really fun, and we watch movies with him in it...but to my kids, it's just a fun story. I hope this makes sense :)
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Anonymous said...

Ou daughters are all teenagers now but they believed in Santa. Their was never an issue of trust or the importance of who is more important on Christmas. Materialism and lack of faith in what Christmas is all about as never been traced back to if you did or did not get to have santa come to your house. Its a heart issue.
I agree it has to be every parents decision but to be honest with you, i kinda feel bad for the kids who don't get that part of childhood. When my girls were small the kids who did not have santa seemed to delight in telling them there is no Santa. Almost like they were happy to burst a bubble or were they just sad they didnt have this make believe???
Connie Lukacs