Christmas is coming and… yet another hapless member of the clergy has upset parents by telling some primary school children that Father Christmas is not real. In this case, the subject came up because the curate in question asked the children what they thought Christmas was all about. Sadly but predictably, for a large number of them Christmas is not a religious festival at all; it really is all about Father Christmas. Perhaps this also explains the hypersensitivity of some of the parents. At least one will never darken the doors of a church again, while another felt “obliged” to tell her child that “the vicar was lying.” Take Santa away from Christmas and, for some people at least, nothing will be left.
I can’t help but feel sorry for all adults who have to stand up and talk to children about Christmas. The Father Christmas issue is a minefield: say that he is not real, and half your class will then ‘have to be’ told that you are lying. Say that he is real, and the other half will know that you are lying. You can’t win!
I find the whole thing a bit bemusing. On the one hand, modern materialists pour scorn on those who believe (on the basis of reasonable evidence) that Jesus of Nazareth is God become Man. On the other, they will rise up in arms should anyone shatter a child’s transitory belief in Father Christmas. Who is living (or trying to live) in a fantasy world? Not the Christians!