Theologian and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler tackled a pressing question that often plagues Christians this time of year: How should believers speak about Santa to their kids?
There are many schools of thought within Christian communities and the debate around Santa Claus seems eternally ceaseless, with some opting to partake in the cultural celebrations of Santa and others warning that his inclusion takes away from the true meaning of the season: Jesus’ birth.
Mohler said last Friday on his show, “The Briefing,” that he believes there’s a proper approach to dealing with the issue. He specifically responded to a question from a father named Dustin who asked, “What do you do with small children in the question of Santa Claus, particularly when in the home, you’re not talking about Santa Claus but everyone in the culture is and many of your relatives are, and the children might be confused?”
The theologian said his strategy has changed a bit over the years when it comes to Santa, and discouraged parents from simply speaking about the holiday figure as a fictional character.
“My suggest is that when your children ask about Santa Claus, you don’t speak of Santa Claus as an imaginary figure,” Moher said, adding his belief that it’s important to explain Saint Nicholas was a real man. “It was he and the legend that he gave children gifts that has come down throughout history and has been transformed.”
Listen to Mohler break it all down around the 17-minute mark:
He said Santa is now a “major figure” in culture, and that it is best to let children know about Saint Nicolas’ standing as an early Christian who was kind to children and gave gifts.
“You don’t have to say, ‘There never was a Santa Claus,’ you just have to say, ‘Our attention at Christmas isn’t towards any particular human being at all,'” he said. “Explain to your children that stories about a man riding a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer delivering presents down chimneys aren’t real and instead tell them about the birth of Jesus.”
It is the focus on Christ’s birth that is at the center of it all, Mohler reminded listeners.
“We believe in the true story of Jesus Christ,” he said. “Christmas is about the baby born in Bethlehem’s manger and that is something that took place, not just as a story, but is true.”
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