I’d like to preface this post by saying that my heart here is to explain the thoughts that I’m having on this topic. In NO way, shape, or form am I seeking to judge or condemn anyone. With text-only media, it can be difficult to convey certain feelings, emotions, and intent, so I hope that you’ll keep this in mind as you read this post.
We’re getting toward mid/late December, and it’s a time that many consider to be a special time of year. Christmas is less than a week away, and there’s evidence for the national holiday everywhere you look. Most people are in good spirits, and we’re reminded that it’s a time for giving. If you were to ask most people what represents the spirit of giving at Christmas, they would answer “Santa Claus”. And hopefully, anyone who is a Christian would answer with “Jesus”. Yet many of these same people will still tell their kids that there is a person known as “Santa Claus”.
Is Santa Claus really as harmless as everyone thinks? Is he a cute icon for kids to represent Christmas?
Are you ready for the answer?
Are you sure?
The answer is a resounding “NO”, Santa Claus is not a harmless idea for Christmas. In fact, I’ll be bold enough to say that Santa Claus is actually the antithesis of Christmas.
First, let’s take a look at the real man, Saint Nicholas, whom Santa Claus is supposedly based on. Saint Nicholas was known for the giving of gifts, most often to the poor in need. There are many different variations on his story, and many different celebrations in different regions. In some areas, he is known for putting candy and treats in shoes or boots, in other areas he’s known for putting treats in stockings. There are some modern variations that include something like a tree branch for kids who were “bad” and didn’t deserve candy, but to the best of my limited knowledge, that is not based on the original Saint Nicholas.
Now let’s look at Santa Claus. The Legend of Santa Claus tells how he lives at the north pole with elves working for him to create all the toys for Christmas. Throughout the year, he keeps track of the behavior of all the kids in the world to determine whether they are on the “Nice” list or the “Naughty” list. Once Christmas comes around, any kids on the Nice list get the present(s) they asked for, and any kids on the Naughty list get a lump of coal as punishment for their bad behavior.
In other words, kids have to earn their gift with good behavior. And that is the core of the problem with the conventional idea of “Santa Claus”.
The real reason for celebrating Christmas is that we are celebrating God’s gift to the world, his son Jesus. The term Christmas is derived from the word “Christ”, which means messiah or savior. The Bible tells us that God sent Jesus to us to be a gift. Salvation is something we cannot earn, no matter how “good” our behavior is. Gifts are given at Christmas to not only commemorate God’s gift to us, but to also commemorate the gifts of the wise men to the baby Jesus. None of these gifts were earned.
There is another thing that I think makes Santa Claus harmful. Jesus is real. He walked the earth approximately 2000 years ago, he died on the cross to save all men from their sins, and he is now at the right hand of God, awaiting the day when he will return. But Santa Claus is not real. When most kids are little, they learn about Jesus, Santa, and the Easter Bunny. Two out of three of them they will find are not real. What will they think about the third, who is most important of all?