Dear Gracewomen,

I was reading again what Dawn and Christine had to say about Santa Clause and I appreciate it very much. I have been thinking about this, and decided it is a subject that should be brought up because of all the young mothers on our loop. It is not a popular subject however, but I pray the Lord would use this as He sees fit.

I heard a couple of weeks ago a radio show in which Santa was not mentioned, but it was about the children and teens of today. The program was by "Focus on the Family" and was about morality and "situational ethics" of today's children. The speaker said that there was a study done in a number of high schools recently in which questions were asked of the students. When asked about telling the truth and lying, whether lying is morally wrong, 90% of the students responded that it depended upon the circumstances. These same students said that there are no absolutes! This study included many who claimed to be Christians and claimed to be believers in the Bible, on the same questionnaire.

This study seems to prove that today's teens view morality and ethics as "situational". In other words, lying is OK if there is a need for it. Other morality issues have become situational to these teens also. This same thinking bleeds over into other morality issues in their lives, such as premarital sex, stealing, alcohol and illegal drugs, disobeying parents, and so on.

I then thought about young children and what is taught them at a very early age. Parents everywhere during the Christmas season are teaching their very young children by example that lying is OK if it is about Santa Clause. When their children get older and find out that Mom and Dad lied to them, they then rationalize that lying is OK in certain circumstances, in certain situations. It is "situational".

The Bible, our final authority, has many instructions that apply to this. There ARE absolutes in the scriptures and parents must be teaching their children this! Some of the scriptures that show this are:

Included are:

Eph. 4:25, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another."

Col. 3:9, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds"

Col. 2:8, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

Rom. 1:29, "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, DECEIT, malignity; whisperers", (emphasis mine).

As teenagers, these same children may tell their parents that they are merely spending the night with a friend, if they want to go to a party that Mom or Dad does not approve of. Or they may use any other deceitful means to disobey their parents. When the parents find out their children have been lying to them, they then begin to moan and say, "Where did we go wrong?" My theory is that it started back in the toddler age with Santa Clause.

The story I sent about the boy in the 1800's, who wanted a rifle for Christmas, illustrates the point. He knew where his Christmas presents came from and also knew that the money his parents had saved to buy him the rifle went to a more needy family. This became the best Christmas he ever had. He learned that giving is more blessed than receiving. A child does not learn this when they are taught about Santa Clause.

It is interesting to note, also, in the story that the children who received the gifts, were thankful to the Lord himself, because they had prayed to Him and not to Santa Clause to meet their needs. One may note that a hundred years ago, very few children were taught about Santa as children are today. In fact in some places it was against the law to do so. Santa Clause has pagan origins and many of the early leaders in our country knew this and saw the danger of this teaching.

After Christmas when children are taught to thank those who gave them gifts, whom does a parent teach their child to thank for Santa's gifts? A fictional character? Could this possibly be pleasing to the Lord? Why not thank Mommy and Daddy and also the Lord for providing for their family?

We must think of the qualities given to Santa Clause by the world system. "He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good&ldots;! Who but God can know these things about your child? "He's everywhere, he sees everything." He can be everywhere at once, all over the world, after midnight on Christmas day. Who but God can have these attributes? I believe parents do not realize how degrading this is to our Lord to teach children these things. To assign to a fictional character all the attributes of God, not only confuses the child but is totally sacrilegious, and idolatrous!

I appreciate so much what Joanie said about her feelings about Santa: I will quote from her in case some of you missed her letter. From her letter:

"But what grieves me, is a child should NEVER be taught to put their faith in something that is a lie. And, to me, Santa robs Christ of the place He and He alone should have in a child's heart. God knows when you're good or bad, or sleeping, and that's why I don't pursue the Santa story. I don't get into arguments with others over this, as again, it's between them and the Lord; but I must say that this is the only thing that really grieves me about Christmas. God is my miracle maker. Santa can be a fun story just like Frosty the Snowman is a fun story...but certainly one would never teach their child that snowmen can really come alive."

I will close this thought with a discussion I was told of that took place between two children I was baby-sitting with years back. Their Mom told me that she overheard the children at the dinner table one night. The four-year-old asked the three-year-old whom he liked best, Santa Clause or God. The child responded, "Santa Clause!" The mother then realized what this was doing to her children and she told me that she then told the children the truth and never taught them the lies about Santa Clause again.

I hope and pray that Christian parents everywhere think about these things and pray, asking the Lord for the strength to stand up for what they know to be the truth.

With my prayers,
Mary Atwood