Last week when I picked up my kids from school, my youngest asked me if we were going to leave out cookies for Santa this year. She caught me off guard as we have never really encouraged a belief in Santa in our house. In true big brother fashion, my oldest quickly told her that Santa isn’t real and looked to me to back him up. And over the next few moments, a million thoughts ran through my head before I could respond.
My first thought was if I tell the truth will it end up like it did when she told everyone at school what she thought were our thoughts on Halloween? (if you haven’t heard that story yet, it’s a good one… 😊 I’ll save it for another day). Or will she get in trouble like her brother for touching the class elf to prove there is no magic there?
Then my mind moved on to… is this something she needs to believe in? And is this belief going to hurt her?
I honestly don’t remember if my parents told us Santa was real or not when we were growing up. I do know that Ben and I decided early on that we would tell our kids the truth about things like this. But I also know that whatever my parents told me, it obviously didn’t leave any lasting damage. And I know that as children (and even as adults) we all need something to believe in.
Now I don’t by any means equate Santa as being up there with God on things that give us hope. But I do know that in her short 6 years of life, this little girl has had a lot of things taken from her. She has faced more loss and pain then someone her age should have had to… And if I am being honest, there have been more times than I can count as an adult when I have wanted to believe in my own little fairytale.
Over the last few years, I have learned that no matter what comes at me in life, I can find a steadfast hope and belief in the things unseen. I am thankful for a heavenly father that gives me that hope and that I can trust in Him when things are tough. That belief is what has helped me live through the hardest moments of my life, and is the reason I can still find a reason to smile at the end of each day.
So of course, my mom brain went a million miles a minute as I analyzed what I should say and do. And on that five-minute ride home from school I asked her… do you want to believe Santa is real? And she said she did because she wanted to leave him some cookies. I told her that I was not going to tell her that Santa was real, but that if she wanted to believe that he was this year, that she could.
The presents have been wrapped and under the tree for days. And not once has a child asked me if Santa would be bringing anything for them… because they know that the spirit of this season in our home is in giving. And they know that this holiday is a celebration of Christ’s birth.
They didn’t ask about what Santa would be doing for them, instead they only asked could they leave him some cookies.
So today we decorated cookies and she and her sister picked out the ones they wanted to leave out for Santa. Their big brother reminded me before he went to bed that they would be disappointed if I forgot to put them out. And when I went to tuck him in one last time, he asked if I was really going to eat all those cookies… since they all know that I am really Santa 😉
So this Christmas, I am grateful for children who believe in the things they can not see. I am thankful that they look to me to always tell them the truth no matter what. And it warms my mama heart that she was able to tell me that yes, she wanted to believe in this, this year… because I think one of the hardest things that I have learned through grief is that it is okay to believe in something again.
And tomorrow, we will wake up and read the Christmas story over breakfast before they open any gifts… and we will talk about the true meaning for this holiday… and I will pray that this sweet little baby of mine will always remember that we always have Someone to believe in…
I don’t know if you still believe in Santa Claus 😉 or if you know that there is Someone greater that you just can’t “see.” I am praying for you today, that God reminds you that He is the reason for this season, and He is all you really need! Merry Christmas!