Now I love stories that kindle the imagination and all that, but I do have a problem with the way Santa's "Ho, ho, ho"s seems to drown out the cry of a baby in a manger at Christmastime. I desperately want my kids to approach Christmas with an attitude of graciousness and gratitude, learning to love God more, rather than growing in self-centeredness and shallowness. So I approach the whole Santa-thing rather gingerly.
This morning, after Ethan's comment about his dream, I asked him if he thought Santa was really real. He hesitated, then grinned and nodded.
"Well, let me tell you what I know," I said. "I know that there was a man named Saint Nicholas who lived a long time ago. He would bring presents to boys and girls who didn't have lots of toys or nice clothes. I think they would leave their boots out on the porch or the steps outside their house, and he would fill their boots with presents. Now, there's also a story about Santa Claus who wears a red suit and has a bunch of reindeer who pull his sleigh so he can bring presents to boys and girls. But the most important thing about Christmas is that God gave us Jesus. And that's why we give presents to each other at Christmas."
With the authority of a wise six-year-old, Ethan summed it up: "Jesus is the good-est gift."
That's it, buddy, that's what Christmas is all about!