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
One of seven children, Claire Boudreaux Bateman was born in Lake
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 www.howchristmasbegan.com.
For more information about Bateman's company, visit www.howchristmasbegan.com.
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.
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