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How Christmas Began

(Shell Beach Publishing)
ISBN: 0970673213

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How Christmas Began Web Site

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Author's Son Questions Santa's Identity, Finds Real Meaning of Christmas

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA (ANS) -- "Who is Santa and why is he sneaking into our house on Jesus' birthday?" That was the question posed by Claire Boudreaux Bateman's son, Drew, who was 2 ½-years old at the time.

Up to that point, family celebrations of Christmas at the Bateman's were centered around Jesus' birth and birthday.

"The problem in answering his question is that Christmas doesn’t make sense," Bateman says.

"There is a missing piece. What on earth does a big jolly fellow have to do with the birth of Jesus? At the mall and on television, Christmas is represented by Santa with his elves and reindeer, while in church the holiday represents the birth of Jesus. My child’s question prompted me to connect the two."

The result is How Christmas Began, a heartfelt tale by Bateman with charming illustrations by Hannah E. Romero.

The story casts Jesus and Santa as young boys who are on a mission to discover how many people in the world live with Jesus in their hearts. Jesus, thrilled with the list created by Santa, decides to share his birthday with those who share his "special glow." This prompts the two boys to create the biggest birthday party in the world.

The story explains why Santa watches people and what he is trying to determine. It is not the "naughty or nice" of toy commercials and holiday cartoons -- Santa is looking for the love of Jesus in our hearts. The book also explains Christmas gifts as birthday presents -- Jesus and Santa are giving presents to the Jesus inside of people.

The story climaxes with this quote from the book: "The best present was that people started seeing that special part of Jesus inside each other’s hearts. They realized that when someone received a present, that 'Christ must' live inside of them. That's where the word 'Christmas' came from."

Bateman says her book in no way "knocks" Santa.

"Santa is so accepted and loved unconditionally by all. I see this as an incredible opportunity to show Jesus to the world in that same light," Bateman says.

"I know I am not the only parent faced with this situation. And I am equally certain that I am not the first adult searching for the real meaning of Christmas. This book is a way for parents to connect two beloved traditions and teach that the 'real meaning of Christmas' is to recognize the light of the living Christ within us all."

One of seven children, Claire Boudreaux Bateman was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

A community activist at heart, Bateman is passionate about teaching children to recognize, cherish, and enjoy the light of God in themselves and others.

She has taught Parish School of Religion at her church parish for more than eight years, has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Masters degree in Urban Planning from the University of New Orleans.

Now living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with her husband, David, and their two beautiful children, Bateman owns and manages an event-planning firm, Claire Bateman Company, LLC.

Released by Shell Beach Publishing in November of 2002, How Christmas Began, (ISBN 0-9706732-1-3, $18.50) is available for purchase from the author at

For more information about Bateman's company, visit

Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Garden Grove, California.

More from Assist News Service

ASSIST News Service is brought to you in part by Open Doors USA, a ministry that has served the Suffering Church around the world for nearly 50 years. You can get more information by logging onto their website at

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