There it went–another jolly Christmas.
This year was by far the warmest Christmas I’ve experienced in Georgia. But, unlike the weather, something that did not change was the emphasis on Santa Claus and his magical powers.
Growing up in my parent’s house, and out of it in general, Santa was depicted as god-like. He was attributed all sorts of magical features like a kingdom (his North Pole address) and creatures (flying reindeer and elves) and powers (like the ability to manufacture and deliver gifts against all impossibility and being omniscient). Santa Claus, unlike God, had a naughty or nice list (to which our names were added depending upon our behavior).
Of course this latter detail concerning the list is like a teaching about God, which mixes the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) with the New Covenant (Jesus) and portrays God as a father who punishes us for being disobedient. It seems this version of Christmas, at least for a lot of folks here in the U.S. (Christians included), has successfully hijacked Christ right out of Christmas.
This version of Christmas has led a great many Christians to pray countless prayers as they stress and scramble to live up to an illusion of magical gift giving that has little to nothing to do with remembering the birth of Jesus Christ.
I know from conversational experience that there are Christians who, if reading this, will get offended and try to clump me into the law keeping charismatic group (of which I am not). They’ve said to me, “I think you are too into Jesus. You take things too seriously. Santa is fun for the kids.”
Others have said to me, with daggers in their eyes, “These are our family traditions and we are not giving them up.”
In fact, I’ve heard more argument from American Christians about keeping Santa in Christmas than I’ve heard for focusing more on Christ in Christmas. I find this interesting because the iconic Santa of today is relatively new, if you place him in context to the birth of Christ (through whom we have our faith and righteousness and salvation–and, well, every good thing from God our Father).
Most Christians I know, myself included, were never told an accurate story about Santa, much less given an accurate portrait of our Father. I’ve found that Wikipedia has a rather detailed entry on the origins of Santa Claus.
If you are interested, here is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus?wprov=sfti1
As much as I love origin stories, I’m not writing to tell of Santa’s origins.
I grew up in a house with, at best, a mixed covenant teaching, but mostly our household operated according to worldly ways. I wasn’t trained up in the ways of God and eventually departed–and it was a long departure. So when I returned to the faith and got settled in believing that Jesus really is Lord and Savior of the world, of me, I came in blazing with questions.
This business about Jesus and Santa Claus and Christmas traditions was nestled somewhere in the knot of lies that I sought the Holy Spirit’s help to unravel with the truth–an on-going process for the past ten years now.
Over the last five years I got settled about the Christmas tree. While I do not believe they have anything to do with the birth of Christ, God created trees and I’m rather fond of them.
I’ve a circle of friends even that can confirm my having hugged a tree or two or more, ha!
Christmas lights, strands of various colors or the soft white ones, and other festive decor are simply symbols to me of the Light of the world and the joy we have in Him. But, this year I finally got down to the why of not liking Santa Claus.
Yep. I said it, folks. I do not like Santa Claus–or I do not like what we’ve turned him into.
Santa Claus has become an idol and many Christians are teaching, however unintentionally, our children that Santa has powers on par with or beyond the power of God.
Why do we let this idea of Santa rob from God? Why do we directly or indirectly think that Santa is more fun than Jesus? How do we, as Christians, define fun anyway?
Please do not misunderstand. I am not presenting some sort of campaign to vote out Santa, but I do encourage us to keep Jesus in–and more IN than He’s been. I am encouraging us to consider who we are emphasizing at Christmas and why.
I am definitely encouraging us to give ALL honor, praise, and glory to God our Father and Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord and Savior. It is Christ Jesus our Savior King who saved us, not Santa.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1-2 (NASB), Paul wrote about Christian order, beginning, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.”
There are specific issues Paul addressed in the verses that followed, but what I love about Paul’s letters is how he always pointed believers back to Jesus, no matter the issue.
Next year, and every year, I want a traditional Christmas. I want a traditional Christmas that will always point me back to Jesus, reminding me of all that I’ve been given in Him and all that I am in Him because of who He IS.
While it is belated, Holy Jolly Christmas, everyone! And, God bless us all.