Whether or not to “lie” to our little ones about the magical parts of childhood seem to be of much debate as of lately. And while I don’t usually touch any topic that can be seen as a “mommy war”, this one just won’t let me be.
I’ll take a firm stand here and let the cards fall where they may. I will make my girls’ childhood as magical as I possibly can, and though I enjoy it immensely, just for fun, I’ve realized there is a much deeper, more spiritual reason for my enthusiasm.
That reason is faith. Plain and simple. I believe it’s something that we’re born with and I refuse to stomp it out by forcing the lenses of adulthood on my children.
At birth, we cry, and take it in good faith that someone, namely our parents, will come to our aid.
As we age, we take it a bit further, and on wobbly legs, take those cherished first steps, in full faith that someone is there to catch us when we fall.
As maturity continues, our faith shifts forms, and we begin to create our own views of the world and everything in it, and as scary as it seems, most of those views stubbornly stick with us into adulthood. We’ll basically be “believers” or “skeptics”.
From a parent’s standpoint, that is hallowed ground that I pave. Whether or not to extend a practice of faith, and a belief in something beyond ourselves is essentially in my hands. That’s positively terrifying!
And while each parent has their own reasons for parenting the way they do, I feel compelled to share why I try to make believing in more so very important.
A subject like the Trinity is difficult at times for even adults to grasp. We practice in baby steps if you will, memorizing stories, scriptures, and simple prayers. With hopes of someday understanding the complexity of it all.
But on the other hand, faith itself, which is the absolute cornerstone of Christianity, is belief in the unseen, complete trust if you will, and knowing, that beyond a shadow of a doubt something we’ll never physically see on this side of Heaven is real.
If we practice taking steps, babbling words, and every other action under the sun, why should we not practice FAITH in terms understandable to children?
In my humble opinion, sharing the “magic” of Santa and elves, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and all the like, is sharing a practice of faith. It’s believing that though we can’t see something, it can still be very real. And after all, as a mother, I fully believe myself to be all of those roles! I AM their Santa, their Elf on the Shelf, their Tooth Fairy, and their Easter Bunny. Those things are not lies to me, they’re baby steps into faith. They’re a foundational belief in goodness, joy, and love.
Imagine this: you’re taught during your childhood to take things at face value. Believe in what you can see with your own eyes, in only what you can understand and prove to be true. We’ve just destroyed faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Matthew 18:3 also instructs us “become like little children” in order to inherit the kingdom. If we never allow our children to BE LITTLE CHILDREN, how will they ever become ADULTS who are capable of belief like a child?
I don’t know about you, but when I’m breathing life into my children’s imaginations and fueling their wildest dreams with “things unseen”, I FEEL like a child! My heart soars and pure joy fills my soul. Like Psalms 23:5 “my cup runneth over” in moments like these!
Now don’t misunderstand, I connect fun traditions like Santa and the Easter Bunny to our walk with Christ every chance I get! I do that so that we never underestimate the teachings of Deuteronomy 6:7-we talk about God and His goodness, when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. I never allow the fun stuff to overshadow the REAL stuff and I firmly believe that putting our faith into action in terms understandable by children is the key to a deep, long lasting faith as an adult.
If we can’t allow the belief in something as wholesome as Santa, which they see portrayed in a positive light all over the world around them, how can we expect that they’ll ever fully accept the concept of salvation, which is almost hidden by most societies, tucked away in “special stores” and legally separated from state affairs, such as public schools?
Now I’m no Biblical scholar, no fine teacher of The Word, just an ugly sinner, saved by grace. I know, with full confidence that the Holy Spirit resides in me, and chastises me when I’m out of the will of God. And when I share beloved holiday traditions with my little ones, I’m not filled with dread, guilt, or doubt (because those are emotions the enemy brings). On the contrary, I’m completely overcome with love and joy that often spills down my cheeks in tears. It’s a beautiful thing!
If Jesus himself were to step foot in my home during any holiday celebration, especially His birthday, I’m quite certain He’d smile at all the pomp and circumstance surrounding it! That feeling of comfort when thinking “what would Jesus do” tells me all I need to know.
My home will be filled with traditions, with the magic of childhood (which I’m thankful to be experiencing a second time, through the eyes of my own babies), with joyful hearts, and with the Gospel. And for none of that am I ashamed!