I have been mulling over some thoughts of Santa Claus and the place we as a culture have given to his celebration. It saddens me as I realize that we have often neglected the true Reason of the season in favor of a jolly old man in a red suit.
The Greatest Story of All
On Christmas we celebrate the incarnation of the Creator of the world. The King of kings stooped down to earth and took on the lowly form of a baby and became God with us. No story even comes close to the ultimate measures of humility and sacrifice that were wrapped in swaddling clothes the first Christmas morning.
But we know that it isn’t only a story. The birth of Christ has shaped history – even for those who do not believe.
We have the ultimate Reason to celebrate. We have the greatest of all truths and yet, as a culture, we stoop to worship a legend – a man who was once great but was just that – a man. Santa Claus has permeated every facet of our culture.
From grocery store clerks to the latest Hollywood movie, everyone and everything has a unified message – the story of the King of all Creation becoming a man and dwelling among us to become our Savior is not good enough.
We need a made-up story of a big guy flying in a sleigh and coming down our chimney and eating our cookies and bringing us presents to make us happy. The best Present of all is no longer a good enough reason to celebrate the season.
There are two main reasons why Santa Claus should be driven out of our Christmas celebrations.
I don’t say this lightly as I know that many of my readers have a special place in their hearts for Santa, especially this time of year. But I hope that you will hear me out and realize that the reason my husband and I have excluded Santa from our festivities is not because we are the Grinch who is trying to steal Christmas. Rather, I am on a mission to see that the celebration is restored to the beautiful, awe-inspiring and miraculous holiday it should be.
The first reason behind my premise is one that has been preached before. Children who are taught the true story of Christmas while simultaneously being spoon-fed the doctrine of Santa Claus will have a difficult time embracing one when they find out the other was a lie.
The story of the babe in a manger will easily be discarded as a childhood fantasy by a generation of young people who don’t dare to believe that they would ever be worth the sacrifice made by Christ.
Children are expected to believe their parents, but parents have given them a reason not to be believed. We have, as a culture, promulgated a lie. And that lie has overtaken the truth.
And in this culture of Santa-crazed-devotion, don’t dare to be a truth teller. If you do expose the charade for the fraud that it is, you will be ridiculed and even despised. You will be made to be the villain because you dared to tell the truth. The truth that Santa is a made-up character exploited by the devil to take our focus from the Way, the Truth and the Life.
My second reason revolves around the deification of a person other than Christ. It is an irreverent and sacrilegious thing to bestow upon any other than the One True God the attributes that He alone has.
Santa Claus has been deified.
He is said to be all-seeing, all-knowing and ever present. Children are made to believe that Santa can see them always and will reward them accordingly on Christmas morning. When they find out that it was all a farce, will they still be eager to believe in the One who truly is those things? By telling our children the lie of Santa, are we making it more difficult for them to accept the truth of Christ? I contend that we do.
We further muddy the waters of the gospel story when our children are made to believe that their behavior determines their gifts. Our Christ descended to the earth and lived as a man with the sole purpose of walking up the hill of Golgotha and laying down His life for our sins.
The beauty of the gospel story is summed up in the scripture from Romans
“God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
We can’t be good enough to be worthy of the gift that we were given on Christmas morning. Without the babe in the manger there could have never been a Savior on the cross and without the dying Savior there would never be the resurrection. It all works together into the most amazing and beautiful love story ever written.
And every year, for a few weeks in December, we have a built-in reminder of the culmination of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. We have the opportunity to set aside time to tell our children of His miraculous offering. To focus on the goodness of God to send His Son as a helpless child so that we may be free of sin and guilt.
And what have we done with this opportunity? We have left Christ out in the cold and invited Santa Claus into the warmest places of our hearts and worshiped him as God.