Children and Christmas

If a child were asked to which day of the year he looks forward with the greatest gladness, he would no doubt answer that it was Christmas. If a number of children were asked why this day above all others, many would be likely to say that it was because of the presents which they expected to receive and the good time to which they looked forward. Others might say that they loved Christmas because it was the day on which Jesus was born. The pity is that the children's thoughts have to a large extent been deflected from the coming of Jesus and turned toward a mythical, pagan concept called Santa Claus as the sender of all the good things at Christmas time.

In Christian Science, children and adults alike are taught the tremendous importance of recognizing truth first, last, and always; and because Christ Jesus himself insisted upon this, and because it was an essential part of his healing work, Mrs. Eddy has wisely instructed Christian Scientists to speak the truth on this point as on all others. On page 261 of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" she asks the question, "How shall we cheer the children's Christmas and profit them withal?" To this she replies: "The wisdom of their elders, who seek wisdom of God, seems to have amply provided for this, according to the custom of the age and to the full supply of juvenile joy. Let it continue thus with one exception: the children should not be taught to believe that Santa Claus has aught to do with this pastime. A deceit or falsehood is never wise." It were well for all parents and guardians who are Christian Scientists to study prayerfully the whole of her article and gather from it lessons not alone for Christmas day but for all the days of the year.

All Christian people should readily see the danger of attaching to the Christmas season anything which is not based upon truth, for the most beautiful and deeply spiritual lessons of the year should come with the Christmastide, and leave ineffaceable impressions upon the child-thought from babyhood up. It is well that children in homes where comfort and luxury prevail are taught at this time to think of their little brothers and sisters outside who are less favored, but this lesson, too, should be carried throughout the whole year so that the next Christmas will find the children with happy memories of unselfish and loving deeds, and of sacrifices made that others might have some of the good things which they themselves enjoy. Here we may remind ourselves that if children are simply permitted to make great demands upon their parents for the means wherewith to do pleasant things for those in need, the vital lesson will be missed, which should be deepened and broadened into a conviction that the real things of life are in no wise dependent upon luxury, either with respect to eating, drinking, dress, or amusement, and as these vital lessons are brought to the children in the best way possible to the parent, a noble type of character will be unfolded which will attract love because it is loving, hence strong and pure.

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Among the Churches
December 21, 1918

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