Who is this Santa guy and where did he come from?
Christmas is the most widely celebrated holiday in Western world. It was Pope Gregory that established December 25th a the supposed birth of Christ. "Christmas" literally means "mass of Christ". Christians after the time of Constantine converted a number of pagan festivals, adding Christian elements to them. To the December winter solace and various harvest festivities, they added a nativity crib and the singing of Christmas carols. Eventually, the Santa Claus image emerged – with sled, reindeer, and a sack of toys. It was an American invention that first appeared in a 1868 drawing. However, the Father Christmas legend was based somewhat on a fourth century bishop by the name of Saint Nicholas.
So anyway … what would Jesus say to Santa Claus? Here's what I think he might say …
- Thanks for encouraging the spirit of giving (yes, I think Jesus would have something positive to say to Santa Claus). We live in a world of increasing selfishness. Christmas is a time when we think more about others, which is a good thing. Like God, we all need to adopt more of a giving attitude in life, as well as one of gratitude, affirmation, and encouragement.
- True fulfillment is not found in things. Santa’s focus at this time of year is based on a belief that more things will make people happier. But people need more than mere things. Things may be nice but ultimately they are empty and they never fully satisfy. We need love, peace, and joy that only God can provide through a relationship with him and with other people. Love people and use things – not the other way around.
- Good works aren't enough. Santa's game is one of getting rewarded for what you do – for being nice rather than naughty. The truth is that none of us are ever good enough. Our efforts fall short. That's why Jesus came – to live and then to die for our short-comings … and then to offer us eternal life … as a free git, not as a reward for our good deeds. Christmas is not about what we have done but about what God has done for us … in Christ.
- You're not the reason for the season. Christmas is about Christ. Jesus came to earth as the Saviour of world. He is the eternal Son of God who arrived on earth 2000 years ago. Santa Claus is a recent addition, an add on. This celebration isn’t about him. Jesus Christ is the most influential person in history. We mark time by his very arrival. Jesus is the "hinge of history". Let's keep the "Christ" in Christmas. Remember, HE is the real reason for season!
- You're not real, but I am. Santa Claus is a figment of people’s imagination, a mythical hero. Sorry kids, but Santa isn’t real (parents, ease it to them slowly!). He's merely a character – like Mickey Mouse or Buzz Light Year. Jesus is real. You can’t see him but he is alive. He is not a myth or a legend or an imaginary person. He is not only real, but he’ll be back. However, his second coming won't be like his first coming. He will come in power and glory and every eye will see him.
Can you see that the Gospel of Jesus is quite different than gospel of Santa Claus? Where’s your faith? In Santa Claus or Jesus Christ? Jesus is knocking at door of your heart. Do you have room for Jesus? I believe that he is the true and living God, the Prince of Peace, the Saviour of the world, offering us forgiveness and real life. Turn to him and place your faith in him today. Follow him and live for him.
Christians: don't picket Santa Claus. Don't become an old scrooge or a humbug Christian. Just because Santa is an anagram for Satan doesn't mean that he is the devil! Jesus Christ is the true meaning of Christmas. Let's bring him back to centre stage!
P.S. For background on the concept of "What Would Jesus Say …" see this previous post.