How are believers to rightly handle the cultural focus upon jolly Saint Nick this time of year? With young kids, this issue continues to surface. In fact these days it feels like the pull towards materialism is stronger than ever, like I am grasping and straining to keep my kids reigned-in amidst a world selling...everything.
So let's see how the Word can guide. As I started praying about this, I was reminded of Paul's visit to Athens, found in Acts 17. Here is a description of his heart, "his spirit was provoked (or stirred) within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols." (17:16) He was moved because of the love of God within him for all people and his desire that they grasp that love within themselves.
This stirring caused him to reason with those with whom he made contact. (17:17) But here's the thing, when he reasoned he did so with humility and grace. He met people where they were. And from that place he "took their hand" and led them to the foot of the cross where Jesus died for their individual sin.
Paul wasn't intimidated by the culture. He wasn't intimidated by the deception of the day. He actually placed himself in the middle of it and then spoke from a heart that was overflowing with love.
I am not going to say what you should teach your kids specifically about Santa--truthfully I like to teach the "why" so we look back at the historical Saint Nicolas and the spirit of giving he displayed. But regardless of the details, does what we say spur them towards love or legalism? I pray that we as believing parents would strive to teach our kids the heart of the matter: out of love and humility point people to the One who absolutely adores them and gives gifts of eternal value.