Thursday, December 29, 2005

Do You Believe in the Tooth Fairy?


I swallowed my tooth. I was in the first grade and I swallowed my tooth. It was a front tooth and I was looking forward to putting it under my pillow for the Tooth Fairy and I was eating a peanut butter sandwich and I swallowed it. Very traumatic.

My mom was sweet about it. She said that the Tooth Fairy would understand if I wrote her a letter. So I did. It went something like this:

Deer TOOTH FAiRY I Ate MY TooTH. Sorry. CAN I STill geT Money? What do YOU dO WiTH all the TEETH?

The next morning there was a nickel under my pillow and a note in very beautiful, flowing tooth fairyish script:

Dear Will
Thank you for your letter. I know you take good care of your teeth and I am sorry you swallowed the tooth. Here is a little money for being a good boy. I collect the teeth and my tooth elves turn them into billiard balls.
Love,
the Tooth Fairy.



I loved the Tooth Fairy. She was so nice to me. I also loved the Easter Bunny, and the Sand Man, and Uncle Sam, and Santa Claus, and Jesus. Just because I had never seen any of them didn’t mean they didn’t exist. I knew they were real. (I even had a letter!)

The Sand Man was the first to go. Mom said if I pretended to be sleepy I could catch him. Never happened. I realized it was like the time she told me that I could catch birds by sprinkling salt on their tails. It kept me busy. It didn’t take long to figure out that Uncle Sam was a symbol, an Abe Lincoln in a colorful suit. Then the Easter Bunny hopped off to join him since I helped color the eggs, Mom hid them, and I saw her buy the baskets... Reluctantly, Santa was next. I didn’t want to give him up. But the elaborate evidence had too many holes in the logic. I was afraid to admit my parents played his role; then they would be off the hook for presents. Kids can be very practical sometimes.

At some point I began to wonder about Jesus. Perhaps the Holy Spirit was first, then Jesus. I hadn’t seen either of them as a speaker at school or on tv (except in movies where it was obvious that someone was just playing the part).

There were conversion events in my life. At thirteen. A renewal at fifteen. But there were periods when I wondered. After all, there are a lot of precedents that not all things magical truly exist.

This isn’t true in nonwestern cultures. In India there is a strong belief in the supernatural to the point where the pantheon of hindu deities is enormous. My two year stint in a yogic ashram taught me about Ganesha, and Hanuman, and Shiva, and especially Kali (she still makes me shudder... I’d rather not talk about it).

In indigenous peoples all over the world there is a strong belief in animism, reality is interwoven with the supernatural as a part of daily life.

Not so in western society. We are too sophisticated. We like things orderly and if we dabble in mysticism it is usually the trendy sort. You know, Madonna studies the Kabbala, or those who read Mother Earth News and eat only organic foods and buy lots of crystals and talk endlessly about Gaia. Trendy. Like smoking cigars a few years ago, or driving a Hummer. There is a political correctness view of mysticism that says that it’s all good and that if you want to worship something, anything, then you have the right to it (while at the same time it is a little skeptical of anything promoted by the male-oriented, male-dominated socieities of the past, such as chrisitanity).


But in general, we don’t want to believe in things that are supernatural, especially if it is serious and not very trendy.

I am a Christ Follower. I prefer that term to Christian as the label Christian is thrown at everything from Santa Claus to western society. Being a Christian for many folks is no more challenging that being a member of the Rotary Club. And for many it serves the same purpose. I am a Christ Follower. That means it costs me something. Something I gladly pay. It costs me... everything. All I have I give to Him.

It isn’t trendy. It means that I believe in the Word of God. If it is in the Bible, I have to accept it. That isn’t always a comfortable thing. But I want my faith to be bigger than me, to challenge me. Otherwise I may as well worship a Chia Pet.

According to the Bible the world is filled with the supernatural. (I don’t really like that word because it implies that there are things outside of nature, and if God made it, it is part of reality, it is natural.)

Take the Book of Job. It is filled with things that cannot be proven by science. Things that cannot be tested in a lab, or photographed by the Hubble telescope. In Job there are two scenes that take place in Heaven, a realm that is not to be found anywhere on the 197,000,000 square miles of our planet.

In Job there are heavenly beings. There is the Lord God almighty. There are angels. There is Satan. We are told that Satan roams the earth (like some sort of predator). Later the Lord speaks to Job, and to Eliphaz (Job’s best friend).

So why don’t we hear much about Satan anymore?

I think the answer is simple. We have turned him into Santa Claus. Satan doesn’t need to do much in our society. We do it for him, in this place where everything goes and it is all good. Now and then I think he (or one of his minions) simply whispers that the idea of the embodiment of evil, of a malevolent supernatural force that opposes all that is good, is absurd. That we don’t really believe in that stuff. No, as a society we swallow all sorts of pap that has to do with God within all things and that whether we worship Gaia or Ganesha or the image of Elvis in a Graham Cracker it is all good.

But there is a malevolent force to the universe and if we want to pretend it doesn’t exist, that is just fine with him. Just as surely as there is a negative as well as a positive charge to the flow of electricity, just as certainly as there are north and south magnetic poles, just as reliably as there are opposing atomic forces, there is a light and darkness that has nothing to do with photons.

I’ve seen it.

I have had experiences that make this dark reality clear to me. I have had experiences in my home that frightened me (though it wasn’t as bad to face as I had feared). But even without the experiences, the same part of me that recognizes the reality of the Lord tells me that there is something lurking in the dark.

I have had conversations with my kids about Santa Claus. I have talked about the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. I explained their histories and why parents say that stuff to kids. And I have talked to them about God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and Satan.

So the two points I want to make are this: First, as parents we need to be certain that the amusing little fables we tell our children do not lead them away from truth. Secondly, we need to accept all of the truth as well. That includes the acceptance of darkness in the world as well as light and what it costs to believe.


51 comments:

Matthew Wireman said...

This is a great post, very challenging to the Western mind. I find that we have not so much turned Satan into Santa Claus as much as the fact that Satan has blinded the eyes of people in a certain way in the West (2 Cor 4.4-7). I think materialism and materialistic theory has won the day for the West. Like you said, we have done the work for Satan. People have been lusted with the fatc that possessions are them means to happiness. Satan has made people comfrotable and in so doing has made them cease to seek and care for the eternal. This is how he has blinded the West's minds.

I think you raise a great question too as to what happens in the child's psyche when we lie to them about Santa's existence or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. Are we training our children to accept the fact that their parents deceive them for the sake of fun? Possibly. Why couldn't we just explain that giving gifts and receiving gifts is more transcendent than a fat man in red? This would probably be healthier than deceit. I am sure many are wagging their heads, I just wanted to push the question...

bjk said...

In my reading plan it is now Revelations and it hits me more and more the deception of Satan on the world and yet is it not true that 'the world' is Satan's right now?? And we have to live knowing that and fighting to bring people to know Christ in spite of the power the world has over us?? My husband and I were downright scared this morning...scared of what we may be asked to do in the name of Christ in the future, scared to live following Him in a world where it would be so much easier to NOT...scared but wanting so badly to follow Him.....just wanted your thoughts on this...thanks becky

Lorna said...

one reason too is that we can become fixated on satan - I've seen that with mature Christians too - so involved in spiritual warfare they lose sight of God.

We need to be careful and keep God in the picture always. He will show us the enemy at work when we need to know and He gives us the wisdom and the tools of how to deal with him on each and every specific occasion.

Like you cleaning your house spiritually and dededicating it to God :)

be blessed

FTS said...

Excellent post.

My pastor once said that if we had never experienced doubt we wouldn't be telling the truth. I think all of us, at some point in our lives, have questioned if there really is a God and if the Bible is fact or fiction. It is these questions that drive us to find the answers for ourselves, rather than taking someone else's word for it. The only word we need to take is The Word.

Oh -- and I promise I'm not being trendy when I say I'd like to have a Hummer H2. ;)

curious servant said...

Of course!

Seeker said...

Some would prefer to cut a few pages out of their Bibles; omit them, toss them out. Can't do that. To be a Christ Follower, one needs to follow His Word. All of it. Can't pick and choose.

G~ said...

I enjoyed the sweet retelling of your childhood experiences. :)

I agree with you about making light of satan being a dangerous thing. And it's just how he likes it. Why wouldn't it be?!

Thanks for another great post!

Blessings!

John said...

I think one of satan's greatest deceptions is the one where he convinces everyone that he isn't real at all.
Thank you for this very needed reminder of just how much it does cost to follow Christ.

Pia said...

CS, thank you so much for your prayers. you've been nothing but a blessing. i've learned so much from your posts. may God bless you and keep you always.

Coco said...

If there is goodness,
there is also evil...
And yes, we are able to sense both!

My parents would hold the same type of conversations us (just as you do with your kids)-
my mom would tell us of personal experiences with the "supernatural"
Yes, it exists...

ALL of their teachings have made me aware that I need to be careful of what I do, and how I do things-
even if it's painting! When I painted, and I knew I would be giving the painting to someone- I prayed for the person, hoping that when they received my gift they would be blessed.

I also won't lend myself to pray over someone I don't know- or just don't sense it "right"...I know that evil just wants a slight opening... I also know, that I am not strong, therefore I will NOT play or touch anything that might bring evil closer to me.

Anyway- to a more positive note...
May 2006 bring you and your loved ones LOVE, HAPPINESS, & HEALTH- many blessings!

Take Care!

see-through faith said...

Coco wrote
"I also won't lend myself to pray over someone I don't know- or just don't sense it "right"...I know that evil just wants a slight opening... I also know, that I am not strong, therefore I will NOT play or touch anything that might bring evil closer to me."

While I agree with you about the not touching or laying on of hands lightly, I think not to pray over someone is a deceptive thought. Prayer is never wrong, only the enemy will make us think that.

curious servant said...

Lorna---

May the Lord give you strength, discernment, and a strong sense of His loving presence.

You know what you need to do... do it thoroughly, do it well.

Pirate said...

as always you make us followers and non-folowers think. I appreciate you for that brother. I too follow Christ but that doesn't mean I am perfect and without sin.

By the way my youngest daughter is named Kali. Not after any Hindu diety though. I know nothing of the god named Kali. But she has been a blessing to me as a daughter.

curious servant said...

I had a student last year named Kali. It took me the longest time to pronounce it the way she wanted rather than that of the hindu goddess.

My student pronounced it "calley" like alley of galley. The goddess is pronounced "Cawly".

The goddess is not something to be messed with (her worshippers are left alone for the fear she instills). Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was about Kali worshippers (of course Hollywood went way overboard with it).

Funny thing though... now that I am a follower of Him, I would not fear to walk through her temple if He told me to do it.

There was a direct link between her and the ashram I lived in and the monkish order to which I temporarily belonged. Perhaps I'll write about it some day.

It is wonderful to walk in the light (and even in the dark if I am following Him).

Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Lk 4:6 Satan told Jesus "For it (this world) has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish" NAS

This was something the kids and I were discussing today. Never under estimate the ability children have to understand. Mine are 7 and 9. I use this scripture to help them see that this world is the devils playground and that he does have power here. We should always be on guard. LM

curious servant said...

Excellent point LM.

Why is it that we cherish the tooth fairy so much?

Joash Chan said...

Dude, I'm dropping by to wish you a blessed new year. I pray that your family will be a great blessing to many.

Dotm said...

Curious servant, I was brought up by parents who were true believers and I did my best to bring up my kids the same way, plus sending them to Sunday School to learn even more.
When my twins were in kindergarden something happened. I was digging a deep hole in the back yard to sit a clothesline pole in when the school bus dropped off the twins . One of the boys saw me digging and he told me to stop digging. When I told him I wanted to have it ready when his Dad came home from work, He suddenly started crying so hard like his heart was breaking. I stopped and went over to hold him and find out whay he was so upset. When I finally calmed him down he said mommy don`t dig anymore , you are going to let the devil out of the ground.
Some older kid on the bus had told him the Devil lived in the ground and if he was ever bad the devil would come out and get him. He was afraid my digging would let the Devil come out of the ground and get him.

curious servant said...

That is so sad.

I think that shows why we need to talk with our kids about what is and isn't real, what Satan can and cannot do, and where our refuge truly is.

Fortunateley you were able to deal with the child's fears.

Anonymous said...

You asked: Why is it that we cherish the tooth fairy so much?

That one's easy...she takes away teeth we don't need and actually pays for them. What I need is a dust bunny fairy. I'd be rich :-) lol

Have enjoyed your page, lots to think about. Job 42:3 "Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." (NAS) Humbling - it is one of my favorite books. Thank you. LM

McSwain said...

Excellent post. The thing of turning Satan into a cartoon character in a little red suit makes the idea of spiritual warfare laughable. Which is frightening in itself. I have seen it, too.

FTS said...

Back again to wish you a safe and happy New Year's. :)

curious servant said...

First we stop believing in the Tooth Fairy... then God... then ourselves.

We are created by a tangible, all powerful trinity of LOVE and we settle for shiny baubles.

Lord, save us from ourselves!

Running2Ks said...

Very well said. May you have a blessed New Year!

BHGA said...

Have a blessed new year CS....thanks for all you have shared this year....

Jim said...

Us and our house, we are followers of Christ also.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
.

Lillee said...

Oh my gosh, I had similar thoughts just....last week! I was wondering to myself, "Maybe I shouldn't keep up this Santa Claus thing anymore, because my kids are gonna think Jesus is fake too." And then it was a battle with myself....."Well, Self, maybe Jesus is a fake."

It was wierd. Great post. And sure, I'd love to be linked. Thanks for the comment.

puremood said...

I believe. You must believe to recieve. :)

My son, who is 8, just told me recently there is no real tooth fairy. He still believe in Santa and I am not sure about the Easter Bunny. He told me before Christmas a child in his class told him there was no Santa that Santa was your parents and he told the child "but what if your parents dont have money tp buy you all that cool stuff, of course there is Santa!" Tho, he knows there is God... and God provides.

He is a believer in our Lord, as is the entire family.

Good thought provoking post.

Happy New Year and many blessing for 2006.

Fox's Mom said...

But there IS a 'Santa' and I taught my children about this man who lived in 5th century Myra-Bishop Nikos. He gave children and poor people gifts, including dropping gelt into the stockings of undowered girls hanging to dry by windows. I taught my children to share their 'wealth' in the same sort of way that Bishop Nikos had, and in that way they would be sharing the spirit of Christmas-to care for the plight of others and to share the gifts God gave us. I explained to them that although Bishop Nikos is remembered officially on the 6th of December, I was sure that he would be glad to see children receiving gifts on the day we celebrate the greatest gift of all-hope. As they grew older, I also gave them gifts on the 6th of January-Epiphany, the day we celebrate the arrival of the three magi in Bethlehem. The gifts were usually something I hoped would strengthen them against the whispers. CS, I really like that you write about the whispers...May 2006 bring you and your family, and all of us, closer to the sanctuary of His perfect peace.

David said...

to be sure i got your drifting - I am going out to get a chia and the altar accessory packet, i can rewrite some songs and grow some green hair to show I am a true believer. so cool happy new year!

osray said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog... Love your blog and Love to study Job... I am very impressed with The last young friend that spoke to Job.. Elihu I think.... He is a type of the Holy Spirit I think.

Me said...

Fantastic post and some great comments. Happy New Year and thanks for stopping by. The fires were close enough to see the smoke. The first set of fires were 30 miles away and Thursdays fires were 60 miles away. Thanks for your concern!

addict said...

Another wonderful post!!!
I just wanted to wish you a fantastic New Year!

Maria del Carmen said...

This post is so good. Living in a city with so much cultural diversity, I need to be prepared to answer my kids when they ask about God. Not long ago my 9-yr old daughter asked me, "Why Jesus?" "Why is he the only way to Heaven?" I have to be ready with Bible verses and remember to speak softly, gently, in love. It's easy to sound arrogant and judgmental when taking a stand for something you believe in, but that's not Christlike at all. I leave the judging to God so I can concentrate on living the message, not preaching it. I like the term Christ Follower; I'm with you on that one!

David said...

I am so glad that 2005 brought me to your blog. You have challenged me, whipped me, built me up, tore me down. But most of all you have spoken such true words.

May 2006 be a Blessed and happy one for you and your family.

Paula said...

What a great post. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

Interestingly, I have a good friend who said she really doubted God's existence in part because she was so devastated that the Easter Bunny and Santa weren't real. I vowed then not to lie to my children about stuff like that--we pretend, but the kids know the truth. Infact, I've been charged interest when the tooth fairy has forgotten to collect the tooth and make payment. LOL

Thanks again for this thought-provoking post.

Lillee said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR CS!

Max said...

I never believed in Santa. My parents taught me about God and Christ, the Holy Spirit and Satan. Santa was only made up as was the Easter Bunny.
I've always known God. Ever since I was a very small child. I also knew there was evil. I was plagued by dreams or experiences(I don't know which because I was only 2 or 3) of the "blood man with no bones" and "the man made of fire". We have taught our children in the same way.

Start with the truth. When they're older, they won't depart from it.

Lucy Stern said...

CS, Check out TF's post on Santa. http://tfsternsrantings.blogspot.com/2005/12/truth-about-santa-claus-author-unknown.html

Good post. Satan is real and he does his best to decieve us. Follow Christ and he will tell us what is real.

Happy New Year to your family from ours.

wanda said...

You are so right in your assessment that the word Christian has been sullied by those who would use it to further their own agendas. How it saddens my heart to see someone claim to be a Christian who then turns around and does the most horribile things to their fellow man (women and children). It angers me to see Christianity being used to badger, harrass, and force people to bend to the will of others.
Many times I have called myself a Christian. Having read this post I know in all honesty I cannot say I am a 'Christ Follower'. I have not and all too often am not willing, to make the sacrifices one is called upon to make, to be a true follower of Christ. I believe, I have faith, but I still have far too many questions, and am far too weak. I hope this coming year I will find myself more able to come closer to being that which I seek to be.
Thank you for a enlightening, insightful and inspirational post!

Christopher said...

"Being a Christian for many folks is no more challenging that being a member of the Rotary Club. And for many it serves the same purpose. I am a Christ Follower. That means it costs me something . . ." I'm going qoute this in a future sermon. CS, You have many great thoughts and life stories. Perhaps one day in some national/state park well catch up and exchange stories of life and faith (aren't they one in the same life and faith?) I'd get to meet your kids and you'd get to meet my kids. Blessings to you friend.

deni said...

I know several people who should read this post. Those who say they believe in God but not satan. I never understood that concept. I don't understand how someone can believe in One but not the other.

I once spoke to a young man who said he didn't believe in either God or satan. I could have argued with him but instead I only said one simple sentence to him, "You say you don't believe in God or Satan, I ask you this, what if your wrong?" I just wanted to make him think. I pray that young man's heart will be opened to the truth.

Epson cartridges said...

Good comments. But, I do not agree with most of them. People sure have a lot of time on their hands.

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ladybugcda said...

The Tooth Fairy is online now!
"Toothfairycyberspace"
Come share in the information and whimsy too. Good-bye, gotta fly!
www.toothfairycyberspace.com
Thanks in advance for your comments in my guestbook too.

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