It’s been nearly one year since I began this blog in my desire to share my favorite book titles with fellow homeschoolers. Today, however, I am going to write not about one of our family’s treasured pieces of literature, but instead of a holiday classic movie we all enjoy: the Fred Astaire narrated, Mickey Rooney performed, Rankin-Bass production of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.
Our children know that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. They also know that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17, NIV)- including those beneath our tree. Nevertheless, Santa Claus is a beloved character in American culture (and around the world). Stories of St. Nicholas aside, it is just fun to imagine how related traditions came about, and this 1970 film did a wonderful job at this.
But it also did something more. While if you watch it on television you will find the film now edited (leaving out songs, scenes deemed too frightening, and religious references), the original movie did not neglect a Christian message. One could argue with some of Winter Warlock’s pleas for magic late in the film (or is he praying for Holy Spirit power?), but can lyrics such as “You mean that it’s just my election to vote for a chance to be reborn?” mean anything other than repentance leading to salvation? Or when Kris and Jessica “because no town would have them … stood before the Lord” to proclaim their wedding vows, be anything other than a direct acknowledgement of our Savior? Or that Kris would choose Christmas Eve as the one night of the year he would deliver gifts, because it was “the holiest of nights, the night of profound love”?
Winter Warlock’s icy heart is melted because of what? Love. Undeserved, freely given, love. Kris Kringle is an outlaw… for being kind. Marriage is valued, helping others encouraged. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” provides a fun explanation of where Santa got his name, why toys are found in stockings, and what makes reindeer fly, but even more importantly it reflects traditional Christian values.
So don’t be afraid of allowing your little ones to watch this one. It is a story. Just like Jack in the Beanstalk and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. They are going to be curious about who Santa is. Allow them this fictional explanation that does not ignore that it is a Christian holiday. (Although be with them during the early Winter Warlock scenes. I can still remember hiding behind our living room recliner during these when I was little!)
Hoping you will continue to share my love of children’s literature in 2018.
Blessings this Christmas!