Where’s Santa?

It’s incredible how upset people get when I mention, I don’t celebrate Santa.

In all the years, Mike has been decorating our front yard with snowmen and penguins, and Christmas trees and Snoopys, and Star Wars and gingerbread men, not even once has a child asked us, “Where’s Santa?”

But you better believe, that adults do. Not all, but there are quite a few.

Even after explaining my reasoning I get,

“Oh, so you don’t believe in Santa, but you believe in a great big snowman, instead?”

I want to say, “Don’t be dumb.”

But I don’t. I hold my tongue.

Believing in Christ offends people. Not celebrating Santa, during Christmas, offends people too, I suppose.

Who knew?

But I’m not standing out in my front yard, holding signs and yelling through a blow horn that anyone is going to hell for putting a Santa in their front yard.

I’m not.

I’m not condemning anyone who does.

Regrettably, I have several pictures of my kids sitting on some strange man, wearing a red suit’s, lap.

Each one of my kids received at least one present from me, but addressed from Santa, until they were at least 8 years old.

So Santa celebrating went on for a good sixteen years under my roof.

Most of those years, I was a single mom just trying to make ends meet.

God provided for everyone of those years, and yet I gave credit to Santa.

I’m so ashamed now.

So no, I don’t celebrate Santa.

But I do celebrate Christmas with snowmen and penguins, and Christmas trees and Snoopys, and Star Wars and gingerbread men, because they’re fun, and they’re cute and they don’t promise my kids anything, and they don’t take credit for making them happy or giving them anything.

Not everyone has walked in my shoes. Not everyone has experienced the heartache of a Santa, year after year. Not everyone has gone through what I have.

It’s why my relationship with Jesus is a personal one. Everyone’s is personal. Having a relationship with him is a unique one, unlike anyone elses.

So, I’m not asking anyone to change.

I’m just over here celebrating Christmas the way I do. With inflatables and lights, and presents and music, with neighbors and strangers, and with kids and sometimes with those offended adults.

And if I’m lucky, I get to share my relationship with Christ, with someone who asks,

“Where’s Santa?”


Why I Don’t Believe

In our front yard we have snowmen, and polar bears. We have penguins and snow hills. We have Snoopy and SpongeBob and R2-D2. We have packages, and presents and lights. But one thing you won’t see in our front yard is Santa Claus.

I don’t believe in Santa.

Years ago, I was a single parent…well, for years. And you know what Santa brought me those years?

He brought expectations that I couldn’t meet. He reminded me of how little I had for my kids. He made me feel bad about myself. He took my Christmas joy.

But one year, in the midst of all those years, a friend had invited me to her church. I came and sat in the back all by myself and cried. I cried because every single message was written specifically for me.

There were tears of guilt. Tears of sorrow. Tears of happiness. Tears of relief. And tears of an overwhelming Father’s love for His daughter.

After the year of some healing tears, I decided I wanted to be in my Father’s presence whenever I could. If the church was doing something, I was there. I took classes on finance, on healing and outreach.

I also joined a life group. A life group is a small group of people who meet outside of the church and try to figure this whole Bible reading and Jesus living, thing together.

You get pretty close. You get to know their families, their struggles, their concerns, their life.

They started to get to know mine.

Within weeks they had put my family on the church’s Christmas Angel tree. I didn’t know it until someone from the office called me to get my kids’ Christmas list, that I could never fill. I cried.

She also told me about a bank, who every year selects families to adopt and have a Christmas party for. She asked if it was okay for the bank to sponsor my family. I cried.

A woman from the bank called me to give me details about the party as well as ask questions about how many kids I had and their ages and sizes. I cried.

She asked me if I was okay. I told her I wasn’t.

I told her I hated being on this side. I told her there was a time if you needed money you talked to me. If you needed a ride, you talked to me. If you needed a place to stay, you talked to me. I hated being so needy. I was ashamed of who I had become.

She was quiet for a second. And then she said, “I’m sure some of those tears are tears of gratefulness.”

I shut my mouth.

I had never been so God Smacked in all my life. Just shut up, Kim. Do not let one more word leave your mouth that does not show your gratitude.

It was in this moment that I realized that I was completely nothing without my Savior. Here I was, a poor girl with kids coming out of her ears, with barely a place to live and a car that constantly broke down, holding onto her pride with two hands, refusing to let go, when this woman, not knowingly told me to just.let.go.

Let go. You will be caught. You will be safe. You will be loved. Just let go.

I cried.

We had an amazing Christmas that year. We had never had a year like it and has never had one like it since. The kids had every one of their Christmas wishes met and then more.

And the bank? Well I thought, considering it was a pretty big bank, we would be one of several families attending the party. Oh, no. No, we weren’t. WE WERE THE ONLY FAMILY AT THE PARTY.

I can’t express how overwhelmingly blessed we felt that Christmas.

There was no Santa that year. There was only God and his angels who dressed and looked like many members of my church and that bank.

No, I don’t believe in Santa. I believe in someone much, much higher.

I believe in someone who doesn’t give me what I want, but what I need. And I’ve learned, what I need is so much better than what I think I want.

I believe in an almighty God who never stopped pursuing me even though time and time again, I turned my back on Him, and tried to play God myself.

I believe. I believe in a Heavenly Father who loves no matter how much money I have, and no matter if I’ve been naughty or nice.

That Christmas so many years ago, Jesus took away my shame and he showed me grace. He showed a poor girl with kids coming out of her ears, with barely a place to live and a car that constantly broke down, that she was most beautiful, when she was most broken.

So Him! I believe in Him!