One of my favorite Christmas scenes is Santa kneeling at the manger, obviously worshiping the Baby Jesus. It makes me weep, partly for joy and partly for sadness. Why sadness?

Because many folks scream that we should take Santa Clause out of Christmas, but, like it or not, Santa is as much a part of our culture as the Tooth Fairy (who encourages good dental care.), and Uncle Sam (who promotes loyalty and duty to our nation.). 

Santa was originally supposed to promote giving, because most of us already know that once upon a time there really was a Saint Nicholas, who, because of his incredible generosity became larger than life and eventually evolved into Santa Claus. 

The problem with a Santa filled Christmas is our priorities. So many have become consumed with greed—focusing on what and how much they are going to receive rather that letting giving and generosity rule. So, what do we do? Here are some suggestions. 

If a child still believes in Santa, lead them to your manger scene and lead your little ones to follow Santa’s example and worship the Baby Jesus because IT IS HIS BIRTHDAY. As soon as they are old enough to understand, tell them the truth. Then encourage them to follow St. Nicholas’ example and focus on giving rather than receiving. As a family, plan ways to do that, and suggest that their own gifts be limited so the family can give more to those who have nothing. What about things to give? Besides purchased gifts we can give of our time by offering help, making visits, phone calls, sharing Christmas dinner with a lonely person or a note offering forgiveness to someone who has hurt you, or vise versa.  Your giving can only be as limited as your imagination. 

One caution: There are many folks who prey on the generosity of others to feed their own greed. Make sure the need is real and the gift is beneficial rather than harmful. 

“And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 

Now, from my house to yours, may each and everyone of my readers have truly happy and generosity filled holidays. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS! 

–Rebecca Somoskey