"I see Rudolph in there," the doctor said as she peered into my youngest son's right ear."
"I don't believe in Santa." He stated matter-of-factly.
This was news to me.
I have always skirted the issue of Santa Claus. I would nod and smile, not verbally reinforcing the issue. Sure, he came to the house Christmas Eve. But I tried not to perpetuate the lie. It hadn't so much worked for us over the years.
Yet, every Christmas eve my husband and children would check on Santa on the Norad Santa Tracker. Also, "The Night Before Christmas" was read before bed. And of course, many of the movie favorites we played year after year were Santa-centered.
This year will be different. Santa isn't coming to our house. Having fallen behind on several things, we're struggling to keep up with day to day bills and pay our mortgage.
It's a week before Christmas and no presents have been bought.
My Christmas miracle won't come in the form of Santa. And right now, all I can feel in that regard is that I've stolen something away from my children and from God in perpetuating a lie their entire childhood.
Miracles aren't dressed in a red suit and they don't have a stomach that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.
Christmas isn't about gifts from some imaginary elf who sits on a throne in the north pole.
In our home, we've always told the kids it's Jesus' birthday celebration. But how much have I taken away from that experience by adding this myth or legend to my children's existence these past 8, 10, 12, 16 years (we have five sons).
Santa only brought two gifts and a stocking to my kids each year anyways, right? So what's the big deal? I mean...it's not like it broke the bank.
If I had it all to do over again...I wouldn't lie to my kids. I wouldn't build up some guy in a red suit who doesn't exist. I wouldn't create warm and fuzzy memories around a lie.
I'm a Christian, yet I've pulled the carpet out from under them slowly over the years, not focusing on the true reason for the season (for us).
When Christmas morning comes in our house, I really don't know what's going to be under the tree for our children yet. I'm still waiting for that miracle in many regards.
Yet, part of me is relieved. The lie is over. Between now and then, I'm going to have a talk about Santa with my younger kids and although they know about Jesus and he's a part of our daily lives...we're going to read about the real "First Christmas" in the bible.
We're going to talk about gifts and the "greatest gift" ever given. That's what I want to perpetuate this year.
It's time to start putting "the Word" into our kids instead of "the World".