November 11, 2011
Happy Veteran's Day! Bein' a vet myself, I find this day special for many reasons, but mostly I just think it is so cool that our country honors the men and women who have been and currently are willin' to serve in the armed forces.
Okay--on to the book review I've been promisin' ya'll.
Now, our family has never done the Santa Clause gig, since I just don't think it adds anything to the holiday. However, I have no problem with the fat dude as a fictional character, anymore than I have a problem with Harry Potter. Let's face it, a kid has a lot more sense than folks give them at times, and if you make certain that they understand the difference between the reality of Jesus Christ and the fantasy of Santa Clause--I got no trouble with that.
(Okay, there was that ONE time when Obie was about 6, and he was with me at a mall in Dallas, and we passed by a bunch of moms and their ill behaved monsters--er--adorable children, all waitin' to sit on the mall Santa's lap. As I said, most of those kids were brats, and Obie looked at me as if to ask why they were actin' like that. I smiled and said in my sweetest voice, just loud enough for the moms to hear....
"Honey, see, this is what happens when you teach children to worship a false god that encourages greed and selfishness!"
Obie simply nodded and said, "Ohhhhhh...." as if he was really contemplatin' the philosophical aspects of my (face it--mean spirited) comment. Needless to say, I got some dirty looks from the moms and 'elves'.
Soooooo.....let's move on, shall we?
John L. Hoh, Jr, is a wonderful fella I met through bein' friends with Jeff Yeager, aka THE ULTIMATE CHEAPSKATE (www.ultimatecheapskate.com) on Facebook. As we talked, I learned he is an author of several books. When he offered to send me a review copy of soe of his works, I jumped at the chance. This review is for SANTA CLAUS IS HE FOR YOUR CHILD? A Look At The History And Teachings Of A Child's Saint.
Since John is a technical writer, and he has attended seminary, I will confess I was sorta leery that his writin' would be a bit....dry. I am happy to report that is far from the truth. John's book, while scholarly, is in no way geared only to academics. He starts out with a suggestion that Santa Clause is diametrically the opposite of Jesus, and that 'jolly old Saint Nick' ain't so Saintly after all.
He proceeds to explore the historical facts and fallacies of Nicholas of Myra, the man whose life is supposedly what our modern day Santa Clause legend has been built upon. As I read, I was amazed at the information John has included--I thought I knew a lot about this 'saint', but his knowledge far outstrips my own research.
He goes on in later chapters to describe many of the Nicholas legends, such as the legend of the three virgins, in which Nicholas saves not just one, but three daughters of a merchant from bein' sold into slavery or prostitution. Other legends tell how he became the patron saint of sailors, children, house thieves(and you thought he was bringin' stuff IN with that big sack!), and even liars.
John also gives a good description of how the Santa Clause legend evolved throughout history in other countries, and then he expounds on our modern day Santa and his evolution in American history.
The thing I appreciate in this book is how John uses scripture to back up his theories and put his facts in Biblical perspective for the Christian.
As he states, the decision to incorporate Santa Clause into a child's life is ultimately the parent's decision, and I agree wholeheartedly.
I only have one gripe about the whole book, and it has nothin' to do with any of Hoh's writin'. I hate how the table of contents simply reads Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc. Their are actual titles to each chapter, and they are listed at te beginnin' of each one, but if all ya wanted to do was cheack out a specific chapter for information, you can't just look at the contents page and find it--you have to flip through the book to find what you are lookin' for. I would also like to see a subject index in future editions.
I recommend this book as a good reference point for parents who aren't certain if they want to add Santa Clause to their family's Christmas traditions. It also got me thinkin' about other holidays, and how we as Christians are often influenced by media.
You can order John L. Hoh Jr.s book SANTA CLAUSE: IS HE FOR YOUR CHILD? from www.amazon.com, or www.xlibris.com.
Well, I got chores. Later, ya'll.
© 2011 by Evelyn Edgett