Oh. My. Word. I just realized the lie of Santa Claus. His love for children is conditional. Only the “good” children get their heart’s desire; “bad” children get lumps of coal. When Santa asks a child what gift they want for Christmas, he is asking them to search their own hearts and tell him what they desire most in the world. It sets a child up to focus on tangible things as the solution to the longings of the soul. It tells a child that playthings will satisfy the inner hunger they feel.
And as adults, we still behave as if we are three and sitting on Santa’s lap. We are still trying to satisfy the longings of our hearts with tangible things, yet knowing deep down inside that even when we get the thing we asked for, it doesn’t take long before that rush of delight to fade.
Santa’s elves make toys. They don’t make emotionally mature adults who will love a child and fill their world with loving interaction, satisfying the inner need for healthy relationships.