A couple of Decembers ago I was substituting in a public school first grade.Â After a playground recess a little boy came hurrying in.Â He came straight to me in such distress he was near tears.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œMs. Fisher, Joey says Santa isnâ€™t real!Â He is real isnâ€™t he?â€Â What should I say to the little boy behind those anxious, hopeful eyes?Â I prayed for wisdom as I said with all the warm assurance I could give him, â€œWell, Iâ€™ve never seen Santa but I do know that Jesus is real and itâ€™s His birthday weâ€™re celebrating, so maybe we should think about Him.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Processing this new concept seemed to take his mind off Santa and we moved on.Â But my mind was stuck on the sad plight of most youngstersâ€™ lack of exposure to the Truth and I was reminded of another saying that seems to underscore this conditionÂ – â€œAs the twig is bent, so grows the tree.â€Â Just as a young tree growing out of a hillside is bent and often stunted by prevailing winds, so children become adults who are inclined toward the things they learned as children.Â I remember how our children waited for the gifts sitting under the tree until we retold (sometimes having them manipulate the flannel graph figures) the story of how God gave Jesus -His perfect gift of eternal life to those who believe in Him.Â Not a benevolent Santa, but the Eternal God, is â€œthe giver of every good and perfect gift.â€Â (James 1:17)Â Those â€˜little twigsâ€™ were being bent toward the real reason for our celebrating and gift-giving at Christmas time.Â Teaching them to observe all things he has commanded is an ever increasing challenge in a society that seeks to erase all opportunity for Biblical instruction from its youth.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Consider also His challenge to His church of believers: â€œBe no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrineâ€¦but, speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ-â€Â (Eph.4:14-16)
ReadÂ Deut. 6:4-9 for further instruction.