One listener asked how Christian parents should raise children in the culture of Santa Claus, and another questioned whether nativity scenes violate the second commandment not to fashion any graven images.
Should Christian Parents Talk About Santa Claus?
A father of three boys named Dustin asked Mohler, “What do you do with small children in the question of Santa Claus, particularly when in the home, you’re not talking about Santa Claus but everyone in the culture is and many of your relatives are, and the children might be confused?”
Mohler suggested not to discuss Santa Claus as an imaginary person yet speak of the real story of Saint Nicholas. “It was he and the legend that he gave children gifts that has come down throughout history and has been transformed,” Mohler said.
“It’s been commercialized. It’s been consumerized. It has been, well, you name it,” Mohler continued. “Santa Claus is now a major figure. But the reality is that there is something you’re able to say to a child which is, ‘You know, there was an early Christian who lived long ago who was very kind to children and gave gifts.’”
Mohler also said, “But the reality is, you don’t have to say there never was a Santa Claus, you just have to say, ‘Our attention at Christmas isn’t towards any particular human being at all.’” Explain to your children that stories about a man riding a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer delivering presents down chimneys aren’t real and instead tell them about the birth of Jesus.
“Christmas is about the baby born in Bethlehem’s manger and that is something that took place, not just as a story, but is true,” Mohler said.
Explaining that his suggestion comes from his experience as a father and now a grandfather, Mohler said, “I think it might not be most helpful just to say Santa Claus is not real and Jesus is real, because you really need to start backing that up with some arguments and talking about the consequences of whether or not Jesus is real or Santa Claus is real.”
Being honest with children regarding Santa Claus is Mohler’s suggestion. Tell them the truth about the world’s fixation on Santa Claus and all the fictional stories it has made up about him, Mohler explained.
Mohler concluded his answer by saying, “The reality is that Christians need to be generous. The reality is that Christians need to love children. And so, we don’t have to go around talking about how much we don’t believe in Santa Claus. We go around talking about how much we do believe in Jesus.”