I just finished watching Rise of the Guardians. An enjoyable little movie, but it got me to thinking. Why do we tell our children that lying is wrong, then turn around, and build many of their childhood memories on deception? And worse than that, many movies, especially holiday movies, are built around convincing them these fictional creatures are real – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, to name a few. Is it any wonder today's children are so jaded? Convinced from the time they can comprehend such things that their fun, their joy, their presents, are given to them by – not their parents, their true guardians – but mysterious, fantastical beings who can see them at all times and has some sort of strange power allowing them to keep track of children everywhere. Then, as they grow older, we must tell them that none of it is real. That, in some ways, they have been betrayed, and much of their life is a lie.
(Now, here is where I digress, and lose many of my readers. Why do we expend such energy convincing our children that Santa Claus – a fat jolly elf who lives at the North Pole, only appears one night out of the year, and has a very bad long-term memory – the Tooth Fairy, who only cares about you when you lose teeth – the Easter bunny, who hides dead baby birds who haven't been born yet for kids to find – are real, when they're not, and expend the same amount of energy in convincing them that God isn't real?)
For the sake of argument, say God isn't real. So, now Christmas and Easter (originally celebrated as the Birth of Christ, and Resurrection of Christ, for those who don't know,) are truly merely materialistic holidays (originally, Holy Days.) Presumably, if there are gifts for our children under the tree, or brightly colored eggs (real or candy-stuffed plastic,) hidden with varying degrees of difficulty around outside, the parent/guardian/friend/well-meaning adult that wrapped/placed/hid the presents or the eggs loves the child/ren (specifically or in general.) In which case, why are we so insistent that an imaginary being gets credit for our labor of love – and incidentally, our child/ren's affection? What purpose does that serve? Bringing laughter, joy, and wonder to our youth? Would they not be just as happy, if not happier, to know that their parents care enough about them to bring them a bit of happiness?
I have nothing against celebrating holidays with a few extra goodies. I'm legally an adult in my country (and most others, I believe,) and I still want to go on Easter egg hunts. (Unfortunately, nobody hosts them for teens & twenty-somethings.) I still have many happy memories of seeing my stocking hanging above the fireplace for a month before getting up Christmas morning to unload before breakfast. I see no reason, however, why we should lead our charges to believe their new goods were given them by a stranger (for whom we leave food – another bad idea, this one undermining the don't-take-food-from-strangers line we generally feed our children,) instead of their parents/friends/teachers/etc.
Being a Christian, I believe in Jehovah – doubtless, many of my readers will find this both ironic and contradictory. However, He has given me proof of His existence, where Santa has not – and in any case, I beg that you will not let this profession discourage you from considering my other words.