The Problem with Santa{Day 22 of 31 Days to Redeeming Christmas}

Okay, I’ve been working my way up to this topic. I’ve probably avoided it a little too.  Some of you are not going to like what I have to say.  And if you’re a hardcore Santa lover and Christmas isn’t Christmas without Santa no matter what, you probably should just stop reading here.   I will preface this by saying this is totally my opinion. I am open to having my opinion changed or altered but on this issue, I’m pretty solid.   But I would love to hear your thoughtful, intelligent comments…no negative bashing necessary. I will look after that quite nicely. (oh please, you know I’m going to take this to task)

Santa~ friendly, happy, jolly, extremely overweight, quite old, kind, generous and obviously rich.  What’s not to love?

Where do I begin? I am sure this will become at least a 2-3 post topic. Santa is a big story. An old story. A timeless story. Santa is so woven into the fabric of our culture and our *MERRY CHRISTMAS*  that I’m not even sure Christmas exists without Santa…at least not in North America.  Which makes me wonder~ does Santa have such a presence in the other nations of the earth?

This link has a few interesting facts about Santa and similar characters around the world. Everything from Sinterklaas in Holland to Black Peter of Morrocco, to Pere Noel in France.  The world is fixated on some mythical gift-giver who is sneaky, but generous.   However, I can’t help but feel as *innocent* as the intention of Santa is, he has become something larger and far more commercialized than St. Nicholas would have ever endorsed. After all, St. Nicholas was considered a miracle-worker in the Church. His dedication to God and serving people had little to do with gifts or Christmas for that matter.

I’m going to suggest to you all(as painstaking as this is to admit) that our current day Santa Claus is in the idol category.

i·dol

noun

1.

an image or other material object representing a deity
 to which religious worship is addressed.
2.

Bible .

a.

an image of a deity other than God.
b.

the deity itself.
3.

any person or thing regarded with blind admiration
adoration, or devotion: Madame Curie had been her childhood idol.
4.

a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.
5.

a figment of the mind; fantasy.
I know that’s harsh. And it’s particularly harsh for those of us who have been brought up by the Book knowing that the 1st commandment is very clear: You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)
And the 2nd commandment: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”(vs3-5)
What more can I say? Really. What more is there? Santa is THE face, THE voice, THE picture of giving and THE most talked about , sung about, lauded character in the last hundred years.   And he is NOT REAL.
Perhaps this is where my biggest issue rests.  That parents; wonderful, loving, good parents would lie to their children year after year after year. And they say it’s okay.  And they continue to perpetuate this lie and psych their kids up for the “most wonderful time of the year”.  Little kids who can barely talk or walk know who Santa is.
Kids who don’t know anything about governments, economies, wealth, developed nations, 3rd world nations, hunger, poverty, drought, famine, disease…they KNOW who Santa is and that they’re getting something from him. I find this extremely disturbing .  And it goes back to my earlier post about getting and giving and how the getting and wish lists seem to trump everything else.  Remember, this series is on REDEEMING CHRISTMAS from the commercialized gimme-gimme chaos we have all come to know and loathe.
I am not going to suggest you throw out Santa with the dog poop.  I am going to suggest that you examine Santa’s place at your Christmas feast.  Is he at the head of the table as an honoured guest? Is there any room at that table for “‘the least of these” and Jesus, the Son of God who lowered Himself to the level of stable animals?  We say the words and we try our best to convince the world around us; family, friends, neighbours, that we are Christians. Christ-followers who believe in the virgin birth. Lovers of men not lovers of things.  But if we were to look into our own windows , with the eyes of a stranger, on Christmas morn, would the world KNOW that we are what we say we are?  It is our actions, most often, that speak for us. And sadly, I worry that red Santa suits and over-stuffed stockings are all that people might see.
I want to redeem my Christmas, and for me, there isn’t enough room for Santa and Jesus. There just isn’t.
Click here to go to Part 2 of The Problem With Santa
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11 thoughts on “The Problem with Santa{Day 22 of 31 Days to Redeeming Christmas}

  1. “But if we were to look into our own windows , with the eyes of a stranger, on Christmas morn, would the world KNOW that we are what we say we are?”

    Catching up on your great series….this line really stood out at me today. If we don’t know, our children sure won’t know what we say we are. This is what drives me to focus in on our faith more and more at Christmas. My house needs to be a safe haven in an increasingly God-indifferent nation, maybe even, world. We even put up the tree when our church does, and it works! It doesn’t really bother us to wait until Gaudete Sunday. It seems so fitting! And for two years in a row, we have woken up exclaiming: “Jesus is born!” We go look for him in the manger. I know, I know God has put this on my heart. I could shed a couple of tears thinking about this and the joy it brings. I hope I don’t sound like a know it all Christian, Dana Carvey church lady. 🙂 It’s just that we need, I need, Christmas to be what it *is*. Kudos to you, prairiejuan, for prayerfully, kindly, and powerfully speaking the truth on Santa and all of this series.

    • Thank you Anne for your lovely response! I had never known of Gaudete Sunday(the term)…I had to look it up! Thanks for that tidbit.
      You don’t sound like Church-lady…you sound like a woman after the heart of God. That is what a redeemed Christmas is all about. 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Problem with Santa Part 3{Day 26} « Little Juan on the Prairie

  3. Pingback: Embracing The Season(and maybe a hint at a guest post) {Day 24} « Little Juan on the Prairie

  4. Glenn didn’t grow up doing Santa and I grew up doing nothing BUT Santa. The only mention of Jesus during Christmas was in the songs. When we had kids, we didn’t know what to do and decided to just do nothing and say nothing and see what happened. Mateo loves the idea of Santa, and isn’t swayed by his friends telling him that Santa is not real – he says he believes in magic because he wants to, and his friends don’t. Andreas is just now sort of okay with the idea of Santa but he could take him or leave him. Olivier only knows of Santa in movies and to my knowledge doesn’t think Santa is actually real. We don’t talk about Santa or give Santa much credit around here. The gifts don’t say who they are from, just who they are to. Our focus is on Jesus, love, family, giving, etc. So we don’t promote Santa, but we don’t ban him either.
    Mateo and I were just talking about Santa and I told him that he can believe in magic if he wants to, but he doesn’t have to – that we will still give them gifts and Christmas won’t be different in that aspect. I plan to have a talk with him and Andreas about the difference between magic, which is mostly make-believe, and majesty, which is something we can never make up by ourselves and comes from God. One is a game, the other a gift.

    My other thought is that I would take your blog a step further and say that Christmas itself has become an idol in our culture. The whole thing is such a mishmash of sacred and secular that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you really think about it. People from other places, especially the Muslim world, think Christians don’t know who Jesus is because of how we choose to celebrate Him, and that’s before you even bring Santa into it. I think we need to recognize that there is a duality about Christmas that we cannot avoid. I’ve started to separate “The Holidays” as one thing – that’s the decorations, the excess, the parties, the snow, the fun, the food, the presents, and it’s the secular, cultural side. It’s not necessarily bad or sinful, but it can become so, depending on the place it holds in our hearts. Christmas is the spiritual, sacred side. It is other, separate, and nothing from the world can spoil it because it’s majesty, it’s Jesus. We are all tasked with how to balance this, how to be in the world and not of it, and how to love God and others in the process. I think I need to make this rant a blog. Sorry for hijacking your comments. 😉

    • It’s so funny you wrote that….I was actually going to do a blog in the next few days of separating the CHURCH from CHRISTMAS(as we’ve come to know it)….I agree, we have the holiday spirit, decorations, colours and lights that we associate with this time of year that have nothing to do with Christ or His incarnation. Please write a blog that I can feature! 🙂

  5. Pingback: The Problem With Santa Part 2{Day 23 of 31 Posts} « Little Juan on the Prairie

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