Christmas mystery

On the horizon, shining like a supernova, is Christmas. My five-year old cannot wait for Santa to land his flying sleigh on our snow-covered rooftop and deliver a gigantic load of toys in our living room. Nevermind the minor fact that we rarely have a rooftop covered with snow, especially on Christmas Eve. And nevermind the glaring major fact that we do not include Santa in our celebrations.

I have no personal grudge against Santa Claus, but I also have no photographs of myself ever sitting on his lap, nor did he ever give me a present of any kind.

Santa is like someone else’s uncle. I admire him from afar, knowing that he is said to be a jolly, kind, bearded man, but he doesn’t come to our family gatherings because he’s not our relative. We just don’t do Santa.

Angels in the Outfield hd

That doesn’t stop my kids, though. Each of them have gone through the fervent-Santa-believer stage of Christmas wonderland. My daughter suspects Santa is not real–she’s five, but she has older siblings who cannot keep the truth of these matters to themselves. Because she teeters on the brink of focusing on Santa Claus and presents–lots and lots of presents–I have begun my annual Let’s Remember Whose Birthday Is Coming reminders.

Yesterday, as we drove along, I said to my daughter, “You know, Jesus’ birthday is coming. That’s why we celebrate Christmas.”

“What does Jesus look like?” she says. “Does he look like God?”

Huh. I say, “Well, probably. Sure. But no one really knows what God looks like.”

And she says, “Does God look like an old man?”

“Well, God doesn’t have a body,” I say to her, knowing that I sound like a lunatic.

She pauses.

“So,” she says, “God only has a head?”

And here is what I should have said: “Go ask your father.” But I was too busy biting my lip to keep from laughing.

11 thoughts on “Christmas mystery

  1. I love converstations with 5 years olds and this is possibly why I always end up teaching that age in Sunday school. Last week our lesson was on not worrying and giving our all to God. One little girl when I asked what she would do to get rid of her worries.. “Give my head to God”. Love it! Santa is highly overrated. My parents were anti-Santa in our Christian home after a certain age. She simply read us the story of the real St. Nick. Not that I ever understood completely why no Santa, but knowing there was a “REAL” santa named St. Nick helped us tremendously.


  2. I love conversations like that….I love the innocent questions of children, I really do. Cory was in a motorcycle accident Wednesday, my son said that Daddy was hit by flying gnomes…go figure. Minivan, flying gnomes…same thing right?


  3. But He is a head of sorts.
    Head of His children
    Head of Creation
    Head of Heaven
    Head of eternal life
    Jesus, our brother leads us to Him, the head of our family.
    Kids do know without all the attachments we have “learned” about God our father.


  4. “Go ask your father.” Perfect. I’ve also used “That depends on who you ask.” It doesn’t work when they respond with, “I’m asking you, Mom.”


  5. You should have stuck with the “go ask your father” routine. I never did the santa thing with my kids. I couldn’t lie with a straight face. They would have known in a heartbeat that I was lying and I just couldn’t have that. So we told them from the beginning about Santa and not to spoil it for the kids who believed, but to just have fun knowing that they knew a secret.

    P.S. God doesn’t have a body?????


  6. Well, fer the luv o’Pete, Mel… the child is gonna have nightmares of God’s disembodied head now, floating around in space, like some bad original Star Trek rerun. This is why we laypeople have no business discussing these weighty issues — particularly when there’s someone living in your house who had to go to school and take a big test on such matters.

    I must say, though… isn’t it amazing how kids — especially below the age of, say, six or seven, have so little capacity for metaphore or hyperbole. It’s all so literal for them. I think it must be because they’ve only just fully mastered the language, and then we start throwing symbolism at them.

    I miss that. Mine’s nineteen. Now, the level of her wit and irony are comparable to mine. It’s like having dinner at the Algonquin.




  7. A few months ago, my 5-year-old daughter asked me, “Mama, does Jesus still have his powers up in heaven?” She’d been playing a lot of good guy/bad guy, magical powers types of pretend with her school friends (esp. the boys). I asked “what powers?”

    “You know, like when he made the little girl better. Does he still have his powers in heaven?” And of course I said yes.


  8. Ha ha ha! That’s what I used to think until I grew up, became a Mormon and believed differently. All I ever heard was God has no body, so I thought he was a giant Head. It didn’t help to hear God was the Head of our church! LOL! I love your daughter.


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