I'm on the road and will continue the Christianity 2009 series in a few days, stay tuned.
In 2005, my kids learned the truth about Santa Clause, but it has been the best discovery of their lives.
In 2005, my wife and I decided to sponsor a young 4 year old girl and her mother on welfare for Christmas. It entailed buying presents for them and then our whole church group going to these neighborhoods and delivering the presents the weekend before Christmas.
When we explained this to our children and the fact that each of us would have to give up a present or two this year, we forgot about old Santa Clause.
Our kids quickly asked "But won't Santa bring them presents?"
Now we had a dilemma.
We decided that giving to this family and the true spirit of Christmas was more important than a fictional tradition. So we explained the truth to our children.
At first, our kids were surprised but then they were motivated to help.
In the next few days, we went shopping and the kids picked out toys and clothes for this young girl and my wife picking out items for the mother. We wrapped them all up and that weekend we got to deliver the presents.
The neighborhood was in a rough part of town in the typical low income housing apartments.
The kids took the presents to the door and what happened next has forever changed them.
The mother cried out ofthankfulness and hugged us all, the little girl was so excited by all the presents, she started dancing and singing.
Then we all said a prayer together and told the mother and daughter that God loved them.
We delivered presents to two more similar houses that day and the kids truly learned that the best part of Christmas is giving and helping.
Now, each year we sponsor someone or send presents overseas. It has become a family tradition and a way to serve. Since that Christmas, our children are more in tune with those in need. They give money to the homeless guys on the corner and look for ways to help those in need.
Now, we laugh about Santa and each year our children can't wait to buy presents from someone in need because they get to "be Santa."