Trillia Newbell: Santa and the power of Jesus


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, December 2nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. This time of year, a certain question arises in many homes where young children live. WORLD Radio commentator Trillia Newbell has been thinking about that.

TRILLIA NEWBELL: COMMENTATOR: Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!

For some of you that familiar jolly sound of Christmas cheer reminds you of the moment when the adult in your life shattered your Santa fairytale by admitting that Santa was just a holiday hoax.

In Christian circles, the image of Saint Nicholas is one of our biggest controversies every year. Do we put Santa in our homes? Should we tell our kids about him at all? Or is he just an innocent holiday tradition that we should embrace?

Growing up I was told that Santa was real, but I don’t think I ever bought it. Maybe my imagination was never quite developed enough to believe such a thing. I’m not sure.

But even with full knowledge that Santa was really my dad, every Christmas Eve—lasting well into my teen years—I’d put out a plate of cookies and milk. Santa had to have his treat!

My kids do not believe in Santa. My husband and I chose to tell them about him but not encouraging them to believe in him. I think this is a good choice, but it is only our conviction.

I can also see why a parent might choose to allow their child to join in on the Santa story. Children have great imaginations. They find joy in the idea of fairytales like the Tooth Fairy and the recent Elf on a Shelf.  For some parents, no Santa would mean depriving their child of the joy of Christmas.

And for others, your belief is one of deep conviction that you can’t lie to your children. And that it will be difficult to tell them Jesus is real, when they do not see him—after also telling them Santa is real, when he is not.

Here’s what I know: We must ask the Lord how to live out our faith as we teach our children. These are difficult questions. But in Christ, there is great freedom in how we engage the culture around us and celebrate the Christmas season. Our consciences aren’t bound by the culture.

And if you have embraced Santa and now fear that your child will be crushed, take heart. The child might be crushed. But don’t think so little of the power of the gospel to assume that Jesus won’t save because of you. As Jesus would say: Oh, you of little faith! The power to save resides in the gospel, not us (Romans 1:16).

And maybe that’s just it. Maybe you and I need a reminder today that Santa can be fun, but the story of Jesus is powerful. And glorious. And He does not base His grace on whether or not we are naughty or nice. It’s free to all of us who are naughty.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.


(Photo/Creative Commons, Flickr)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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