I read this article titled Wintertime Worship: Santa Claus or Jesus Christ recently by Roger Patterson through the Answers in Genesis website.
Sadly, our culture has shifted its focus to the dazzling lights and away from a dazzling Savior. Commercialism has swallowed whatever Christmas used to be before it was this. Battles are fought over the very name of the holiday, and Santa Claus is embraced more freely than the infant Jesus. Santa is an icon in modern culture, and his image is used to sell everything from soda to sports cars. How is a Christian to view Santa in light of the true meaning of Christmas?
This article intrigued me tremendously. As you can see from the Christmas tour of my home, and from my holiday baking, I don’t keep Santa Claus out of our celebration of the season. However, my husband and I also make sure that the primary focus of the Christmas season for our family is on the birth of Jesus Christ.
The mythical Santa is clearly founded in a man who honored Christ with his life and his possessions. Nicholas gave freely of his riches to benefit those who were less fortunate than himself. This is clearly a fundamental Christian principle, as we see care for the poor proclaimed throughout Scripture (e.g., James 2:1–17).
Is that the same idea we see in the Santa celebrated today? The popular song extols children to stop shouting, pouting, and crying in order to earn Santa’s favor and his gifts. This is clearly not the attitude that we see in the biblically motivated actions of the original St. Nick—and a far cry from a biblical attitude of raising children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Santa Claus comes to our house Christmas Eve. My kids look forward to his arrival. They get one “big” present from Santa, and a stocking full of goodies. From Gregg and me (and I stole this from my friend Kelli — I LOVE it), they get three presents only. And they know that the reason they get three presents is because Jesus got three presents.
So, while we embrace the celebration of Christ’s birth and God’s gift to all of us in the gift of Christ and subsequently the Holy Spirit, we also allow the children to celebrate traditionally with Santa Claus and by watching Rudolph or Frosty.
That said, if I didn’t feel so grounded in my faith, if I were perhaps a younger mom without having the benefit of seeing Kaylee brought up this way and seeing her older and focusing her Christmas celebration on Christ and the gift of God of eternal life (Romans 6:23), I would be really convicted by the article. Because I, too, feel the irritation of the secular focus of this joyous holiday and would feel like maybe I was doing something wrong.
A Christian parent must thoughtfully consider that Scripture is full of commands against deceiving others (e.g., Exodus 20:16; Psalm 101:7; Ephesians 4:25; 1 Peter 2:1–3). Persistently proclaiming the existence of a man in a sleigh with flying reindeer as fact can only lead to deceit. Please understand that I am not saying there is no place for imagination, but the level of emphasis on Santa appears to cross the line. The active teaching of Santa as a real person who performs real miracles to reward children for acting a certain way, in full knowledge that he is a myth, can only be described as deceit.
After reading the article, it may be that we approach Santa in a different way with the boys. Kaylee already knows the truth. Gregg and I will talk about it as next year approaches and Scott is much older.
If Santa has taken the glory from Christ in your family’s celebration of Christmas, maybe it is time to seriously consider changing the emphasis. I understand that these are matters of conscience in many ways and that sincere followers of Christ will come to different conclusions. What I would ask is that you examine your decisions in light of what Scripture teaches. If our conscience convicts us of sin in our hearts, we can bring that to God in repentance and know that He will freely forgive us because of what Christ has done.
I encourage you to read it and let it speak to you the way God wants it to speak to you. I enjoyed the article tremendously.
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