This is a post that we offer each Christmas. I pray that it will serve as an encouragement to you this year.
Little children are dependent upon their parents for everything. This includes more than food, clothing and shelter. Children are dependent upon you, parent, for how they view the world around them. The way you live in front of them is the most powerful teaching tool that God gives you. This is teaching in the milieu. God designed families to demonstrate what it means to have a relationship with Him. If you love God, if you sincerely attempt to live your life by His Word, if you recognize that every moment is given to you so that you will glorify and honor God, then you will teach your children these same truths without even thinking about it. Your children observe you, everything about you. They see when you are sleeping, they know when you have been good or bad, they know when you pout and when you shout. In the midst of the turmoil of life your children know whom you delight in. Your kids know this without your ever having to say a word. When you stumble and ask God for help — they learn. When you stumble and snap or make excuses — they learn from that, too. If you value your relationship with God above all else, your children will know this, even when you fall short of your calling as a Christian parent.
What does this have to do with being Santa’s helper? Just this: in Psalm 72:18 we read that “God alone does marvelous things.” However, at Christmas time, for little children someone else is portrayed as doing the most marvelous things. Santa brings the toys! Not just any toys, but toys that come in brightly wrapped boxes under a colorful, sparkling tree. These toys have been longed for, prayed for, craved for, hoped for and wished for. This longing has gone on for months if not years. The goodness of Santa is confirmed by the tag on the present: From Santa. Amid the pile of wrappings, bows and empty boxes, happy children know they have been adorned. When I was a child we always left milk and cookies for Santa each Christmas Eve before we went to bed. And sure enough, when my brothers and I bolted out of bed to head for the tree, the milk and cookies were gone. But in their place were presents and full stockings. Santa was for real!
So there is no question that children who experience this visit from Santa feel adorned. Yet this adornment is clearly of the material sort. The children don’t really know “Santa.” But they may actually know his helpers, as I did as a child. His helpers? Why Mom and Dad of course! When Mom and Dad help Santa, good things happen. Toys pour down from the chimney and appear under the tree.
However, if Mom and Dad are Christians, they often may say they are somebody else’s helper. That’s right, parents are also God’s helpers. This brings a question: whom would your children rather you help? Do your children feel the same sense of adornment when you are God’s helper as they do when you are Santa’s helper? Proverbs 1:8-9 implies that children should be adorned (and feel adorned) everyday. Even discipline and correction should feel like adornment to your children. Sadly, most children feel anything but adorned by their parents’ discipline and correction.
Proverbs teaches that these opportunities for discipline and teaching are to be times of “adorning your children” as with the finest jewelry, just like Christmas time. God is often appealed to as the reason for the spanking or scolding. So, being God’s helper can mean spanking, harsh words, cold, silent treatment, banishment to rooms, broken relationships. On the other hand, Santa’s helper brings longed for treasures. The contrast is not lost on a young child. Don’t misunderstand; I am not saying, “Don’t discipline.” But the Bible teaches that you can discipline in such a way as to adorn your children. Try the special combination of Proverbs – the rod and pleasant words mixed together (Pro. 16:20-24). This is a powerful combination. Verse 24 says pleasant words promote instruction. Pleasant words should dominate your day-to-day verbal instruction and discipline as well. This is not always easy, but with Christ’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit you can be a different parent — one who adorns at times other than Christmas.
Teach your children that One more wonderful than Santa loves them and has given them parents to teach them about Christ and true riches. Don’t confuse your children by helping a mythical visitor. Tell them that you love them because Christ has loved you. Tell them that your God has given you a rich blessing – your children. Let them know that the gifts they receive are expressions of your love to them. Adorn your children at Christmas. Adorn your children on August 3rd as well, and every other day. Let them know that you are God’s helper to bring them into relationship with Him. Let your children know that you are Christ’s helper. Tell your children what true riches are. In addition to the gifts that you wrap, adorn your children with gifts that are more valuable than silver and gold. Show them the excellence of being Christ’s helper.
This Christmas, whose helper will you be — Santa’s or Christ’s? Blessings to you this Christmas Season!