Finding out that Santa was not real happend to me when I was about eight years old. The only detail I remember was throwing myself down on the chesterfield in our living room, in utter despair and a flood of tears. I remember nothing before and after that. If this was a traumatic event, it lasted only a few minutes, for that is all I remember. But to a child, even a moment is traumatic. Children live in the moment, with little thought of the past or the future.
Santa Claus is a lovely legend and as parents we can get a lot of fun out of it. Who, as a parent doesn't enjoy watching their child believe in that magic for awhile? Who, as an adult, doesn't wish that for a moment, they could have the innocence of a child, believing everything that is told to them? Even now I enjoy many of the Christmas movies on TV where there is a theme of something magic, or something generous, of miracles.
I am thankful for parents who allowed me to have a happy childhood although when I look back at it I think may have been a little too sheltered from the realities of life. I had wonderful parents. They were not however, perfect parents. I read a quote this morning that made me think of my own childhood:
"If you can be everything to your children...if you can give them everything they want...they don't need God."
That is the kind of parents I had. I was so well cared for, and they were such solid supportive people, as well as people that you could look up to (and even idolize) that I needed no god, I had them. I would not come to know Him for myself until I was thirty years old.
It is so natural for us as parents to want to give to our children. Do we want to be Santa Claus to them, showering them with gifts? Do we want to be their God, helping them with every single problem, instead of letting them struggle a bit to find their own answers? Or do we want them to realize that we as parents are only human, but that God is not human and "He is the way, the truth and the light".
What are we pointing our children to? Are we pointing them to God?