I had the opportunity to teach a couple of times this first week back from Christmas break. One day near the end of our lunch break, one teacher said to another, "So, when do children stop believing in Santa Claus?" She looked expectantly at the other moms sitting around the table. Apparently her five year old had started to question the existence of the old fella and mom wanted the magic to last as long as possible.
I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, but grew more curious as the conversation picked up intensity.
"Has she noticed that not all Santas look the same?"
"Has she started to pull on his beard?"
"Do you use a different wrapping paper for your gifts and Santa's gifts?"
But the most damning of all was the observation that other children create and build the doubt. "There's nothing you can do once the other kids start telling them Santa's not real," was repeated and agreed upon more than once. Once the word's out, there's no stopping the questions, the doubt, the reality of the situation.
And, both sorrowful and rejoicing, I marveled that there is no need to lie to my children about who God is. I don't have to create fantasy or sustain fanciful notions. God is. He has made Himself evident to all of mankind. For "that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." (Romans 1:18-19).
I was relieved with the assurance that our children will never have to question the truth of what we have taught. Sure, they know we are faulty beings and yes, we've made many mistakes. But we have not intentionally built a web of lies about someone who mimics the character of God. God is the One who makes Himself known, apart from my frailty and inability. There is no peer pressure, no wrapping paper, no false beard to guard against.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!