Insert Grace Here…

…finding grace to help in the time of need…

Santa’s Presents and Christ’s Presence

This Christmas will be the first that I will share the tradition of  Santa as a Mom.  First, because Sophie is now old enough to participate.  First, because Cammie and Courtney’s father and I made a decision to teach them that Santa was a fun but make-believe part of Christmas.  First, because this tradition is important to my husband and marriage includes compromise.

I thought I would struggle more with this concept.  I knew long before Sophie was concieved that Joe wanted Christmas for his child to include Santa.  And I had stronger convictions over another holiday largely due to a serious incident that happened to me when I was three.  But that’s another holiday, another post.  Perhaps I’ll share that next October.  The point is that we compromised.

I prayed a lot over this issue.  And I have peace regarding this decision.  However, I don’t want to lose sight of  the primary reasons we chose to exclude “Santa” from Cammie and Courtney.  One reason being that our children are taught to believe in these beings—Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy—and then one by one, they learn they are not real after all.  All the while we are teaching them to believe in Jesus, whom they cannot physically see.  The difference, however, is that we have genuine relationships with Jesus.  Introducing Him to Cammie and Courtney went beyond sight.  He needs no one to stand proxy for Him at the mall.  Hopefully His Presence in our lives will be undeniable to Sophie as well.  If not, something is indeed wrong.

Another concern was and still is the message of “getting” overshadowing the reality of what Christmas really is.  What about the kid down the road who can’t understand why he was denied that special gift that his friend and many others received?  But life is full of disappointments, right?  And the same thing can be said of birthdays.  Still, it makes my heart ache.

Over commercializing and the “gimme” mindsets have come and gone in my household throughout the years.  And Santa could not be blamed.  Every year do we not ask ourselves the same questions?  How do I keep the holiday stress from taking the joy out of Christmas?

The pressures are overwhelming.  We so want to give to our children and YES, teach them that giving is indeed the meaning behind the reason for this season.  The ultimate gift was sent from on High, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

After we were married, right away Joe and I decided to keep the girls’ gifts down to three as Jesus received three gifts from The Wise Men.  Of course, they needn’t look for such costly gifts fit for a King.  But then there are the stockings.  So was it really just three gifts?  Hmmm…

And my thoughts on Santa continued…he isn’t omnipresent!  God is!  He doesn’t “really” know their names.  He’s supposed to.  At least that’s how the story goes.  But you plop a kid on his lap and it’s the first thing he asks them.  Jesus knows their names.  And why does Santa  have to get credit for all of our hard work?  Oh, I could go on and on but the point is clearly not condemnation over Santa. 

Although the girls have made it clear what their expectations were for Sophie —”You ARE letting Sophie have Santa?”—they never appeared to be deprived or cheated.  And as far as I know, I never had to worry about them “spilling the goods” to their friends and classmates.  In fact, one of Courtney’s friends was quite angry when she found out the truth.  Mostly with her mother, but also with Courtney who remained silent as she knew it was not her place to tell her.  My sister, Jamie, found out the truth about The Easter Bunny when I was pregnant with Cammie.  She was seven.  She was not happy.  “Why’d you say there was a rabbit if there isn’t a rabbit?” she asked my Mom.  Most of all, she was perplexed.  This weighed in on me as a woman with child.

So I was sure to share with my girls the Christmas story.  Yet, I faced a moment once again with a perplexed child.  Only this time, it was over the birthday Boy’s party.  We often made birthday cakes for Jesus and sang Happy Birthday.  One Christmas when Cammie was about three or four, she became quite upset when she realized that not only was the Guest of Honor not going to be present (at least not in the flesh), but neither were his friends.  “Where’s Moses?  Where’s all of His friends?”

And that’s what recently got me thinking.  Where IS the Guest of Honor in all of our celebrating?  Am I really including Him?  With our without Santa, I’ve been guilty of getting caught up in the hype.

So now, as I find myself treading new territory and reflect on the sad condition of our world and the lack in the body of Christ, I want more than ever to move beyond the reality of my circumstances to the truth.  This season will come and go.  I want to give.  I delight in giving my children gifts just as our Father delights in giving us His Kingdom.  But if I neglect to share Him, it is all for naught.  If I allow stress over the presents, I just might miss His Presence.

This Christmas I’ll step aside and allow the fat man in the red suit to take credit for granting the heart’s desires of my child.

But the main  “Presence” I want to share… is Christ’s.




  Ginger wrote @

Amen, amen, amen! Merry Christmas sis!

  Annie wrote @

Dear Rena…
This post got me. I mean really, really got me. I am thinking of taking a blog break so I can do what I really need to do… and that is spend more time with God, really listening to how He wants me to raise my children… I mean very purposely and deliberately, like you model here. Thank you for sharing. It means so much to me. Your friend, Annie

  insertgracehere wrote @


Thank you! I so did not want to appear to be sounding like I’m attacking “Santa”. I totally get your thinking of a break! I’m feeling that pull to seek Him more as well. I hope your Christmas is blessed beyond your desires…. If you take a break, you so better email me! 😉

  Big Mama wrote @

You instilled in my granddaughters the true meaning of Christmas. Although when I look back so many years ago, at first I was troubled by your decision of no Santa, but later on I discovered you got it right. Why teach children about a fake Santa, Bunny, tooth fairy, teach them about the Savior !

  Merry Christmas! « Insert Grace Here… wrote @

[…] or something ’cause that’s a lot of work.  And just for the record, I stink at this “Santa Stuff”.  Sophie was throwing in the towel on the pottying the last couple of days.  I told her, “you […]

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