What do you tell your children about Christmas? Here is a picture of our daughter Annie when she was about four or five. At about this age she came home from school one day, stood in the kitchen and said: 'Someone at school said there is no Santa Claus. Is that true?' I took a deep breath. Was I going to tell my beloved little girl a big fat lie?
She would believe whatever I told her. Would she collapse in tears if I told her the truth? Would she miss out on the fun of childhood and be scarred for life and resent me for spoiling her fun?
She looked up at me expectantly. She was interested. She wanted to know. I told her: 'Annie, Santa Claus is like a fairy tale. There is no real Santa Claus; it's just pretend, just a story. Mom and Dad give you your presents on Christmas. But Jesus is real.
Everything you learned about Jesus is true and really happened.' Her reaction? 'Oh, OK.' And she skipped off happily to play with her toys. Sigh of relief on my part. It did not phase her one bit.
I thank God today that she heard the truth as soon as she tried to find it. Several years later, when she was about nine, she came home one day and told me: 'We were talking about Christmas today and someone said there was no Santa Claus, and X (a girl her age) was shocked and said she still believed in Santa.
Everybody told her that was silly and she was really upset. The girl said her mother had lied to her about it for years and she hated her for it and would never believe anything she said again.' Dear readers, it will not harm your children to know the truth.
Why not tell them the whole truth this year by reading the story of Jesus' birth in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. You could spread this out over several evenings. Let the family all sit quietly together while the truth is read out. It will do your children more good than a thousand presents. And let there be debate about it.
Allow them to question it; allow them their doubts, but try to settle the doubts; try to get to the bottom of it and settle in your own mind what the truth is.
The Christian faith is sound and provable - it is not a leap in the dark. 'Let us reason together,' says God in the Bible. He has given you a marvellous brain so that you can actually come to know Him, and be intellectually convinced - because there is actual, factual proof.
Christianity is not like the other religions which make claims but have no proof. God is not a mythical figure like 'Santa.'
God has given us ample proof by the many fulfilled prophecies written down hundreds of years before the events they predict, and also in the miracles of the Lord Jesus - particularly His resurrection, documented and attested to by the apostles, who died martyrs' deaths rather than recant their testimonies.
I am assuming you have a Bible to read from. If not, there are often low priced Bibles at charity shops. Why not also get a good commentary that you can consult to help answer hard questions?
My favourite commentary is William Macdonald's 'Believer's Bible Commentary'. It could not be more clear, simple and yet deep.
You can order one from a bookshop or on Amazon and it will be the best present you have ever given yourself! While Santa is a lie, the word is an anagram of Satan, the Father of Lies. Funny how we give so much prominence to Santa every year, but liberals deny the existence of Satan.
Unfortunately, Satan, unlike Santa, is real. Jesus is true. In fact He is The Truth. He said: 'I am the way (to Heaven), the truth and the life.' When you believe the truth (by believing in Him), you will be amazed to find that you get eternal life (His guarantee of Heaven). He gives it as a free gift to all who put their trust in Him. Now that is a gift indeed.
Make sure you and your children get that gift this year. Postscript: Annie is married, with four little girls and a boy of her own, called Rachel, Joanna, Jemima, Ada and Nathan. They will not be told silly stories about "Santa."