Monday, December 23, 2013

When the *Great Pretend* Breaks Friendships... and More...

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus our Messiah,

I have been debating with myself about this post. Boy was I relieved when I read the post, About Santa, Seriously at the Common Room blog. I am so thankful that someone had the courage to post on this topic. The subject weighs heavily on my heart as our family has sadly been on the receiving end of a couple of broken friendships over Santa with the *ProSanta Camp* {as the Common Room blogger terms them to be}.

Before you read this post, I'd like to preface it with a few things:

  • Please read my Word Study Wednesday post on Unity prior to reading this.
  • If you do not feel inclined to read it, please don't. But I hope you do and consider it.
  • If you leave a comment, please be kind. Otherwise it will be deleted.
  • Know that while I am sharing on my blog some ponderings and life experiences we have had, I am not trying to persuade anyone nor am I trying to offend anyone. If anyone is offended, it is by their choice. 

I believe there must be a way we can peaceably work these things out as believers.

Thank You.

When the *Great Pretend* Breaks Friendships

"Therefore, we have been on the receiving end of considerable parental ire when my historically keen, nerdly minded, well meaning but misguided small progeny have conceded to a friend who has refused to let the notion of there being a ‘real Santa Claus’ drop, “Well, there *was* a real Santa Claus, his name was Nicholas. But he’s dead, now,” and said friends burst into tears, running to their parents to sob that my child told them Santa died." ~ The Common Room Blog

I can so relate! In our family we do a lot of research, studying of history, studying of the Bible {not implying anyone reading this does not}, and a lot of discussion and praying. We are challenged by Romans 12:2 {the verse for the heart of this blog} and not intimated by this challenge. In this sense, we can relate somewhat to the above quoted statement. We have come to learn in some discussions that few people seem to share our enthusiasm to learn and that this is considered an *annoying habit* by them.

In our life experience, this has gone sour with a couple of friendships. A little girl approached our daughter, Dreamer, about Santa. Dreamer, being pointedly asked about Santa, shared that he isn't real." {This is half of the conversation. I'll share the other half in a moment.}
"I know my family isn’t the only one this has happened to- the Santa kids refuse to allow the non-Santa kids to disengage. They are all just kids, I get that. But it’s really unfair to place this burden of protecting your family traditions which we don’t share on the shoulders of our kids, right?"  and "It’s not the job of somebody else’s five year old to protect your family traditions, it’s yours." ~ The Common Room Blog
I wouldn't say this is comforting because the experience has been hurtful {on both ends}, but it is nice to know others can relate. 

One set of friends expressed that they were not going to be involved with us because they didn't want our children to tell their children that Santa wasn't real. 

And so the *Great Pretend* causes division among believers in our Savior Jesus the Messiah. My question is... who really benefits from this *Great Pretend*? How does this glorify the God of the Bible and how does this help us to love each other? People will know us as disciples of Jesus by our love for each other {as John 13:34-35 teaches us}. A disciple is: "A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another;" according to Webster's 1828 Dictionary. What is the world witnessing among believers???

What Message is Being Taught to the Children?

I wonder what their children will think when they learn about the *Great Pretend* and that it was important enough to place above friendships and Christians loving each other. I wonder if this will be a gauge for future friendships, "So... do your kids believe in Santa, too? No? Okay, then our kids can't be friends. We can't have a slip up happen."

So, Whose *Job* is it to Protect the Family Tradition?

This is where I agree with the thought that the job is on the Santa-Is-Real families to protect their family tradition about Santa by telling their kids some of the suggestions found at The Common Room Blog... or whatever else they think of on their own. It's not the job of my five year old to protect their family tradition. That is a responsibility placed on the shoulders of those parents since they choose to teach their children that Santa is real. It ought not to be assumed by kids of Santa-Is-Real families that everyone believes that Santa is real.

Now for the "and More..." Portion of This Post

This life experience gets a bit more difficult for our family. Readers, please understand that we acknowledge and believe in the birth of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah. We however, have different convictions based on our research of history and the Bible on the tradition of Christmas than most other believers. We are not offended by what others believe. We all have our own choices to make. Other than expressing this, I know from experience that very few people can respect that and not be offended. I pray that you are not offended.

The rest of the conversation between the little girl and Dreamer was about the tradition of Christmas. Dreamer, knowing what she knows from our family's research, shared that we don't celebrate Christmas any more. She was then pointedly asked why by the little girl. Dreamer responded as best as she knew how at five years old that it's not Jesus' birthday. And... in all honesty it isn't. And I acknowledge and respect that Christians differ on the opinion of keeping the Christmas tradition despite this commonly known fact. We do not think any less of you or anyone else. 

The sweet little girl's mother brought this up in conversation with me; we were among three other women. As a result, I explained why Dreamer answered the way she did. I guess I openly shared too much about our journey and what we learned and how we have been growing. I did not catch the cue {if there was one} that she and the other women didn't care and none of them interjected. I certainly was not trying to offend or hurt anyone's feelings. This is a new dynamic for me... to not discuss Scripture and history and what we learn. It's a part of who I am and I guess if the expectation is there for me to pretend with people {especially other believers}... this is something this introverted individual cannot do. 

But because of our convictions, a couple of families we were friends with broke the friendships up between our families. To them, because we choose to keep the Lord's Feasts and other Bible celebrations and no longer choose to keep the traditions of Christmas and Easter, "we are living too differently from the Christian religion as they know it to be".

Even after reiterating that we are not offended by what others believe and choose to do, the friendships are not restored. However, we believe these friendships can be healed if everyone involved chooses to allow the Lord to heal them.

Please Consider the Message Being Taught

Please do consider... what message is it sending if Santa-Is-Real families end friendships over this *Great Pretend*? That a tradition is above relationships with other believers in Jesus the Messiah? Ought our family to apologize for what we have learned and for our convictions? For the record, it is not easy being considered *different*... 

What are Some Possible  Solutions?

And so what are some solutions between believers about Santa and the tradition of Christmas?

  • If you are a Santa-Is-Real family, please teach your children that not all children believe that. I think that should be enough. If you feel you need to elaborate, that is up to you.
  • Prayerfully consider if traditions are more important than loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. 
  • Prayerfully consider the message on relationships you would like to impart to your children.
  • What solutions can you think of to help be a peacemaker regarding these differences?
  • If you or your child ask about these things, do not take their stance personally and do not be offended.
  • Remember and focus on the fact that it is our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah which is the cornerstone of our faith as Christians.

You can read some possible peaceable suggestions about the differences between Christians regarding Christmas at the Word Study Wednesday post on Unity.

I'm praying this post is received well and gives food for thought. There must be a way we can bring peace among each other in the Faith of Jesus Christ even though we may have these differences.

With So Much Love in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ...

Blessing to You All!


  1. Well done on a difficult topic. I'm sorry that people have not seen that your friendship is more valuable that what holiday you celebrate!

    1. Thank you so much . I have prayed over this for so long and continue to pray that it is received well, that others consider it, and that it will help to bring peace among believers.

      Thank you, too, for your kind words. The Lord has been good to us and He continues to bless us with beautiful friends who do realize that in Jesus (Yeshuah) the Messiah is the cornerstone of our shared faith.

      Blessings to you and yours!