Teaching our children to believe

By Staff
Melissa Dozier-Cason
Tonight is the night! Children worldwide will lay out cookies and milk, and will agree to go to bed early in anticipation of what Santa might bring them.
I can remember counting down the days until Christmas as a child. I remember running into the living room early Christmas morning to see what all Santa had brought. To this day, I carry these memories around with me because they helped shape who I am and what I believe.
Now, both my children are believers in Santa. I hope that when they are grown they will remember the memories we have made with them through Santa and will continue the tradition.
However, my brother, Robert, who was once a believer too, feels that telling children about Santa is a lie.
Robert and his wife taught their girls that Santa is a fictional character made up by parents in order to make Christmas fun. My nieces do get a few gifts from Santa but they know the true origins of the gifts. They have been strictly instructed to not tell any other children the truth about Santa.
Every year Robert gets on my case about lying to my children about Santa, and finally I had enough, and came up with a good way of rationalizing why all Children should be believers.
As Christians, we believe that our Savior, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, and came to this earth so that we can be saved from our shortcomings.
The way I see it is that if I want my children to believe this story, and I do because I myself believe in the virgin birth, then I have to give them a foundation in order to build their beliefs.
Santa Clause is the beginning of building that foundation. Santa teaches children how to believe. Believing in anything that can't be seen is not automatic, and must be learned.
If we want our children to believe in the big things, like Christ, we have to foster their imagination where anything is possible even the unlikely. I mean the idea that reindeer can fly and that one man travels around the world in one night is a stretch for the imagination, but so is a virgin giving birth to the Son of God.
I guess my final point is, that while Santa is a fictional character, he is real to children, and that telling a small child that Santa is not real takes away their innocence. I believe that Santa is real. He may not be a real man, or live at the North Pole, but he is real to my kids and to me. After all, the spirit of Santa Clause can be found in anyone who wishes to give.
I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas, and that peace and love be shared during this special time.