Finding the Joy and Wonder of the Gospel

Most children in this country grow up with the joy and wonder of Santa Claus. His mysterious and magical delivery of gifts each Christmas is contagious for kids. 

The story of Santa Claus is a beautiful tradition started with a real person that has risen to mythical proportions. Each year, parents go to great lengths to perpetuate the myth into belief for their children. As they age, children will eventually discover that the legend of Santa Claus is just that, a legend: The parents eat the cookies left for Santa. They place the gifts under the tree. The fairytale and wonder fades.

As we look out at our current American landscape we discover that more and more of our young people are leaving the faith. An increasing amount of them are self-identifying as “nones,” meaning that they have no direct religious affiliation. The wonder and joy of Christianity has been abandoned, they have cast it away as a myth. We can’t control how our children respond to the Gospel but perhaps a quick look at the wonder of Santa Claus can give us some insights on how to live out our faith:

1. When we introduce our children to Santa Claus we go to great lengths to live and act as though he’s both real and wonderful. Children are enamored with his story and drawn in by it.  Jesus is both real and genuinely wonderful. Do we live on a daily basis as though He is these things? When children look at our lives are they drawn into the joy that we emit? Do they want this same Jesus in their lives? Or is our faith dry and tired?

2. We tell our children that Santa is necessary in order for their gifts to arrive. Most of us have shared the Gift of the Gospel with our children - that Jesus died for their sins and desires to be their Lord and Savior. But do also we reveal to them the “daily” gifts of His grace? Do we apologize when we are wrong? Do we allow our kids to see our fractured places where only Christ can provide us with healing and wholeness? Are we people who audibly thank Him for the daily bread He gives us?

3. Once a year we reorient our patterns, our schedules, and our lives to make room for Santa on Christmas. We do out of the ordinary things in order to make him come alive for our children.  Because we serve a risen and real Savior do we schedule and orient our lives around Him? Do our children see the regular cadence of Christ in our daily routines, or has He become more of an accessory?

As Advent season draws near we have a unique window to invite our children into the mysterious ways that Christ invades our lives with joy, peace, and grace. May He afford us the grace each day to live like He’s real, and may He grab our kids with His love!

Molly Stone