A secular season: Christian parents struggle with keeping children focused on Jesus, not Santa

Emma Grace Denard remembers the story of Jesus' birth with nativity figurines.

Photo by Kelly Goggin, Special to the Citizen

Emma Grace Denard remembers the story of Jesus' birth with nativity figurines.

Eli Denard, 8, left, and his siblings Emma Grace, 6, and Owen, 4, read a portion of the Christmas story each night of the advent season.

Photo by Kelly Goggin

Eli Denard, 8, left, and his siblings Emma Grace, 6, and Owen, 4, read a portion of the Christmas story each night of the advent season.

Owen Denard, 4, gets help lighting a candle during the third week of Advent.

Photo by Kelly Goggin

Owen Denard, 4, gets help lighting a candle during the third week of Advent.

Emma Grace Denard, 6, shares reading the biblical account of Jesus' birth with her two brothers during the weeks leading up to Dec. 25.

Photo by Kelly Goggin

Emma Grace Denard, 6, shares reading the biblical account of Jesus' birth with her two brothers during the weeks leading up to Dec. 25.

With Santa Claus perched upon his throne at virtually every shopping center, some Christians find it nearly impossible to keep their children focused on the celebration of Jesus’ birth and shielded from the secularization of the holiday and the modern-day version of Saint Nicholas.

Those same parents say that another glaring drawback to children believing that a large bearded, jolly man in a red suit delivers their presents on Christmas Eve is the moment the kids discover — sometimes in a less than merry way from friends — that Santa isn’t real.

The long-term harm can be irreparable as it is usually the first time children doubt their parents’ word.

“After I became a Christian, I could not, in good conscience, let my daughter believe that Santa was a real figure who flies on a magical sleigh to bring presents — that is just untrue,” said Candice King, who attends Gulf Shore Life Center Church in Bonita Springs. “I did not want her believing in a myth for the sake of tradition, then one day discovering that her parents lied to her. She should be able to always trust us.”

King believes when a myth is perpetuated, it is then difficult to teach the reality of the Bible as truth and God as the omnipresent and omniscient creator who sent His son to redeem us.

“I don’t want to be a stumbling block for my child and cause her to mistrust me or disbelieve the reality of Christ because she holds a false hope in Santa,” King said.

Instead, her family reads the Christmas story (the birth of Jesus), listens to carols and bakes for others. She relates gift giving to the blessings of God who provided gifts for baby Jesus then, and now who provides finances for family gift giving and holiday lights to the bright star followed by the wise men.

“We focus on Christ every day, not only at Christmas. We pray together morning and evening and read our Bible daily,” she said.

Sherry Kendrick, the children’s ministry director at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Naples, said the church focuses on advent, celebrating the four Sundays before Christmas with devotional readings, candlelighting and visits to the elderly.

Parishioner Jennifer Denard said that “while Santa is fun, he is not the biggest part of the holiday” for her children, aged 8, 6 and 4, who concentrate on giving and doing well for others.

“The children visited nursing homes with our church, rang bells for the Salvation Army with their homeschool group and collected canned goods for a food pantry with their 4-H group,” said Denard of her family’s holiday traditions. “Our church helps us keep the focus on Christ, at home, through activities like making advent wreaths and ornaments and a Christmas story reading guide, which we read before prayers nightly.”

The Rev. Thomas McCulley, pastor of New Life Community Church (NLCC) on Marco Island, said that if a child can believe the story about the huge guy in red clothes fitting down the chimney, even in homes without a fireplace, they can believe that God could fit into a human body.

“Don’t complain or make a fuss about Santa Claus, just talk about the reality of the greatest gift of all time. There is no better story than the true story of the Christ child,” McCulley said. “Each season, several local churches put aside denominational differences and partner to present a series of ‘Keeping Christ in Christmas’ events at the restored historic church building on (Marco Island’s) church property.”

NLCC member Nancy Langer prefers to strike a balance between secular traditions and the way her daughters, Rosie, 9, and Libby, 8, observe the spiritual holiday.

“I love the gift-bearing Santa Claus; he is a big part of the celebration and festivities, and we bake cookies for him, leave carrots for his reindeer and visit him at the mall,” said Langer.

However, the girls know it is Jesus’ birthday and that there wouldn’t be Christmas without him. “At home, we read the Christmas story, sing carols and give thanks to God for sending his son.”

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Comments » 11

MIOCENE1 writes:

"King believes when a myth is perpetuated, it is then difficult to teach the reality of the Bible as truth and God as the omnipresent and omniscient creator who sent His son to redeem us."

Think about the above statement.

King believes that Santa is a myth;
but a man-god born of a virgin, who came back from the dead, disappeared into the cold dark emptiness of outer space; and is some day going to reappear; is NOT a myth.

Isn't that interesting?

What about the Angel Gabrial appearing to Mohammed. Is THAT a myth Ms. King?

THINK ABOUT IT MS. KING.

MIOCENE (PAREIDOLIA)

Konfuzius writes:

"With Santa Claus perched upon his throne at virtually every shopping center, some Christians find it nearly impossible to keep their children focused on the celebration of Jesus’ birth and shielded from the secularization of the holiday and the modern-day version of Saint Nicholas."

YES! That is an epochal problem!
But we have a solution:

"The Rev. Thomas McCulley, pastor of New Life Community Church (NLCC) on Marco Island, said that if a child can believe the story about the huge guy in red clothes fitting down the chimney, even in homes without a fireplace, they can believe that God could fit into a human body."

YES! If a child believed this, than it will also believe the story with the apple and the snake or the Arch of Noah!

Finally, who cares?
Have a peaceful Christmas and enough to eat and drink.

Hallelujah!

MIOCENE1 writes:

Here is what the young are not told in Bible School:

If Christ had cured a leper, a blind man and made the lame walk, etc; thousands of disease-ridden peasants from all over the Empire would have showed up to ask Christ to heal every ailment from an abscessed tooth to smallpox.

Reports would have circulated to all corners of The Empire and beyond, bringing in tens of thousands more; including the Jewish High Priests and the Roman Ruling Class.

Every Jew would have accepted Christ as their savior after impacted rotted teeth; in need of a present-day root canal; were miraculously cured by the touch of Christ.

The same with the RESURRECTION. It never happened. Occurrences of this too are only valid within its own scripture; meaning that there was no outside clarification from over three dozen recorders, historians, writers, poets and philosophers at that time.

Jesus was just considered one of a dozen or so religious zealots preaching throughout the Empire. Most no one paid any attention to him or them; as we pay no attention to them now.

Ancient contemporary mentions by SECULAR and Jewish historians would have been FILLED with such occurrences along with those in foreign lands.

You see: All the evidence of Christ as a miracle worker comes from internal scripture alone; SUBJECTIVE evidence. Like taking the “word“ of the used car salesman without outside clarification.

The miracles never happened. All these stories were made-up in the century AFTER the death of Christ by religious zealots who exaggerated and lied about the life of Christ in order to get in on the “GROUND FLOOR” of what they saw and hoped would be a new religious movement; to become part of the new “IN CROWD” in order to have power and control over the peasants; a process which the modern clergy continues to this day.

The PICTURE of Christianity was not formed 2000 years ago during the life of Christ as the clergy would have you believe.

It was put together like a jig-saw puzzle piece by piece over the centuries; each piece being a product of hallucination, exaggeration, self delusion, and lies.

A ghost speaking to Moses from a burning bush is a myth; an Arab being visited by an angel is a myth; and the biggest myth of all?

That Jesus was the son of a god.

MIOCENE (PAREIDOLIA)

1Paradiselost writes:

I watched a show the other night on ME TV.. Abbott & Costello meet the Invisible Man. The only difference in this tail, the invisible was a actor in a movie.

Science tells the educated human how we evolved on this planet we call Earth.

The old testament was written because humans at that time were savages. Only the fear of punishment, going to a Burning H*LL, (at the time FEAR of FIRE) FOREVER & EVER kept them in line.

Today the fear of punishment (Police & Jail) keep the modern human from destroying one another. Except for the savages among us today who have no respect themselves or a civilized society.

It's egotistical for any human being to believe they will live forever. No matter which form they choose!

Parents might as well teach their children about Santa Cause. As God and Santa are the same...

RayPray writes:

in response to MIOCENE1:

Here is what the young are not told in Bible School:

If Christ had cured a leper, a blind man and made the lame walk, etc; thousands of disease-ridden peasants from all over the Empire would have showed up to ask Christ to heal every ailment from an abscessed tooth to smallpox.

Reports would have circulated to all corners of The Empire and beyond, bringing in tens of thousands more; including the Jewish High Priests and the Roman Ruling Class.

Every Jew would have accepted Christ as their savior after impacted rotted teeth; in need of a present-day root canal; were miraculously cured by the touch of Christ.

The same with the RESURRECTION. It never happened. Occurrences of this too are only valid within its own scripture; meaning that there was no outside clarification from over three dozen recorders, historians, writers, poets and philosophers at that time.

Jesus was just considered one of a dozen or so religious zealots preaching throughout the Empire. Most no one paid any attention to him or them; as we pay no attention to them now.

Ancient contemporary mentions by SECULAR and Jewish historians would have been FILLED with such occurrences along with those in foreign lands.

You see: All the evidence of Christ as a miracle worker comes from internal scripture alone; SUBJECTIVE evidence. Like taking the “word“ of the used car salesman without outside clarification.

The miracles never happened. All these stories were made-up in the century AFTER the death of Christ by religious zealots who exaggerated and lied about the life of Christ in order to get in on the “GROUND FLOOR” of what they saw and hoped would be a new religious movement; to become part of the new “IN CROWD” in order to have power and control over the peasants; a process which the modern clergy continues to this day.

The PICTURE of Christianity was not formed 2000 years ago during the life of Christ as the clergy would have you believe.

It was put together like a jig-saw puzzle piece by piece over the centuries; each piece being a product of hallucination, exaggeration, self delusion, and lies.

A ghost speaking to Moses from a burning bush is a myth; an Arab being visited by an angel is a myth; and the biggest myth of all?

That Jesus was the son of a god.

MIOCENE (PAREIDOLIA)

"If Christ had cured a leper, a blind man and made the lame walk...."

>>> What you fail to get is that, before Louis Pasteur and the scientific theory of medicine, if you were seriously ill, it hardly mattered what 'physician' you consulted for a cure.

>>> Without pure luck, your chance to survive both the illness and the medical treatment was nil....

>>> Residents of Roman Galilee had a small choice in health plans they could join. The Pharisee & Sadducee Health Plans both had very high Shekel deductibles & co-payments. The Essene Plan was better in this regard, but excluded almost all prior conditions from coverages.

>>>> The Pontius Pilat Health Plan was most liberal in the Shekel area but refused any coverage for circumcision.

>>> All things considered, having zero deductible & co-pays, and no restrictions for prior conditions, the Messiah Miracles Blue Cross Plan marketed by Jesus & the Apostles was the one endorsed by Consumer Reports and the plan any sensible patient would choose.....

1Paradiselost writes:

Great Ray! LMAO!

Konfuzius writes:

">>> All things considered, having zero deductible & co-pays, and no restrictions for prior conditions, the Messiah Miracles Blue Cross Plan marketed by Jesus & the Apostles was the one endorsed by Consumer Reports and the plan any sensible patient would choose....."

Finally this little fisher village of Bethlehem with 1 and 12 supporters growth up to the second greatest religious community at earth. And it surprised me week by week how puerile adult men and women can believe in this nonsense. I know a couple of Catholics they are not organ donor because they believe they need their inner stuff if they coming back to earth on the day of resurrection.

How s----- is that? Has nothing to do with great President Barack Obama's health care system and nothing with

"..the Messiah Miracles Blue Cross Plan marketed by Jesus & the Apostles..."

Merry Christmas.

Brisla writes:

The Earth is a speck of dust in our solar system; our solar system is a speck of dust in our galaxy; our galaxy is much less than a speck of dust in the universe.

To think everything was created for one species of animal on this tiny speck of dust, billions of years after it was formed, strains credulity.

Santa Claus is more plausible.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That is a very nice Christmas gift. Thank you Santa Claus. You did a good job with this information source.

MIOCENE1 writes:

If the Angel Gabriel visited Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, the son of god;

-then why did the same Angel Gabriel visit Mohammed some six centuries later to start a NEW religion which denies the divinity of this same Jesus?

Get the picture?

MIOCENE (PAREIDOLIA)

MIOCENE1 writes:

This article says absolutely nothing of the truth.

If we take an Orphaned Child and put him in a seminary; he emerges as a devout Catholic. Take the same child and instead raise him as a Muslim; and he will later spout the truth of Mohammed.
Put the same child in a Christian Missionary School, and he will go out into the world with that silly look of joy on his face to evangelize everyone to Christianity.

What do ANY of these people actually know about the truth of god?
They know NOTHING; only the religious software which was programmed into their heads as a child; and today plays round and round in the mind in a never ending loop like a computer virus.

Depending on what version of Christianity was shoved into your head as a child; Christ will make his second coming in the Middle East, or in the State of Missouri.

So-called religious “truth” is simply an accident of birth; and if Mel Gibson was switched at birth with Osama bin laden; Gibson would today be spouting the Koran; -as absolute truth.

There IS no absolute religious truth Mrs King, so stop polluting the minds of these vulnerable children with Christian Mythology sold as absolute truth.

One billion Muslims believe Mohammed gave them the true word of god. One billion Muslims can’t be wrong.
One billion Catholics believe that Christ gave THEM the true word of god. One billion CATHOLICS can’t be wrong.
It's all messianic rubbish.

Indoctrination of young children into a particular faith who grow into adults who “parrot” scripture; doesn’t change the fact that the so-called three great religions all cancel out to a net value of zero.

Each religion is only valid within its own scripture. Outside of it's own scripture, each religion disintegrates immediately into rubbish.

It would be interesting to see a Rabbi, Christian Theologian and an Islamic Cleric; all “EXPERTS” on their own scripture; all sitting at a panel on National TV; each trying to prove the messianic truth of his OWN religion to the exclusion of the other two.

What a THREE-RING-CIRCUS it would be as the perceived absolutes of each religion disintegrate into nothing but blind faith based upon superstition and myth; rooted in exaggeration, hallucination, self-delusion; and lies

As of this writing: No Christ rose from the dead. No ghost spoke to Moses; and no angel appeared to Mohammed.

MIOCENE (PAREIDOLIA)

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