*Disclaimer - I am not for or against elves or Santa. I think it's an individual decision that each family needs to make. This is simply my view on why our family believes what we believe at Christmastime.
Recently, I've seen lots of articles and blog posts about the actual celebration practices surrounding Christmas. Things like Santa and Elf on the Shelf all have their supporters and adversaries. I recently read an article by a woman that gave several reasons why her family does not have an Elf on the Shelf. Some of the reasons (using bribery to get good behavior, refusal to jump on the bandwagon) I could understand. Others (not having time to move the elf every night, telling lies to your kids), I couldn't really agree with.
Well, I figured there were so may opinions out there on this topic that I would weigh in with my own. Our family celebrates Christmas with Santa and we do own an elf (Johnny) that my children believe in. I am also a Christian who understands and believes that the real reason for celebrating Christmas is bound to my Lord and Savior coming to earth as a baby so that 33 years later he could die for my sins. Do I believe that Jesus is the true reason for the season? Yes. Do I teach this truth to my children? Yes. Do they know that Christmas is Jesus' birthday? Of course.
I believe. I believe in Jesus. I believe in the simplicity of Christmas. I believe that Christmas has been tremendously commercialized over the last 2000 years. I believe that love, family, truth, and joy are to be lauded and emphasized during this time.
I also believe in childhood. I believe in innocence, awe, and wonder. I believe in magic and fairy tales. I believe in thinking happy thoughts and pixie dust. I believe in elves and a magical land where snow blankets the earth and snowmen come to life.
Does this mean I decide to lie to my kids when I tell them about Santa? Well, yes, I guess it does. I don't buy the argument that "I don't believe in lying to my kids about a man in a red suit who brings presents." I don't remember feeling anger towards my parents when I found out the truth about Santa, but I remember feeling sad. Sad that the magic was over and that a piece of my childhood was gone. Sad that I would no longer get butterflies at Christmas Eve service. Sad that I wouldn't be straining my ears all night to hear the bells of Santa's reindeer. Looking back, I think I knew I was growing up and that made me long for some of those simpler days when belief was simple and easy.
Children are born with wonder in their hearts. Our belief in magic and the impossible is so fleeting, something only alive for 5, 6, or 7 years of our lifetime. Why would I squelch that? Why would I limit their imaginations and ability to truly believe in something with all of their hearts? I wouldn't do that, so I don't. I let them believe and I let them wonder. I contribute to the magic because watching it through their eyes makes me feel alive. It gives me FAITH, and it awakens my faith in Jesus as well. Faith in a Savior that provides me with joy, awe, and wonder. A Savior who smiles at the wonderment in my own eyes when he see that I believe in Him, the same way that I smile at the wonderment in my own kids' eyes when they truly BELIEVE.
Christmas is meant to be magical. Magic sent through the gift of a Savior and commercially perpetuated by things like Santa and elves. My family chooses to embrace the magic while also embracing the truth of the most precious gift God could ever give us, His son.