Ahh, the classic debate over whether or not to celebrate Christmas with Santa. Truthfully, there are pros and cons on each side of the argument. However, first let’s take a look at some of the ways Santa & Jesus are similar.
Similarities between Santa & Jesus
– Both have Beards
– Both are portrayed as having happy little children surrounding them
– Both of their last names start with “C” (Jesus’ last name is not really Christ by the way)
– Both have several Nicknames: Father Christmas & Saint Nicholas… Prince of Peace & Emmanuel…
– Speaking of names: they both seem to know everyone’s name
– They both keep detailed records of all of us (They both know when we’ve been good or bad. Although I’ve often wondered if Santa knows all of our information then why did we still have to write him letters telling him what we wanted?)
– We flood both of them with wish lists and desperately hope they come through for us.
Differences between Santa & Jesus
– Jesus was not known for wearing velvet… Santa is apparently obsessed with it.
– Jesus doesn’t break in through the chimney and eat people’s cookies.
Santa’s Naughty & Nice Distinction
If we’re honest… we all hope that Santa is not too strict (or that he grades on a curve). Jesus, on the other hand, came because none of us are (or will ever be nice enough). So therefore, ultimately… Santa is about me and the stuff I so desperately want, while Jesus is about God and the grace I so desperately need.
Come to think of it, they don’t have that much in common after all!
Jesus as Santa Claus
Often families unintentionally teach their kids that Jesus is really a knock-off of Santa. We teach our kids that thy should simply try to be good, if they are they’ll be rewarded with good stuff. If they aren’t however, they will get the spiritual equivalent of coal. Other times we incorrectly teach our kids that if we pray for stuff we want, that Jesus will deliver just as Santa so faithfully delivers year after year with just what our hearts desire.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This verse offers us abundant life… But wait, we’re already alive. Why would this reference be offering us something we already have? This must mean something else. In fact it does. What is being offered here is spiritual life. In other words, we are dead until Jesus, then we become alive! (If you’re keeping score, Santa doesn’t offer anything like this).
“So do we do Santa or Not?”
The common argument I’ve heard from opponents of a Santa-laden Christmas is this… “When my child finds out Santa is a myth… they will think Jesus is a myth also.” I totally understand where this argument is coming from. However, that would be true if they only pulled Jesus out of the attic once a year (like they do their Christmas decorations & Santa). However, if a family focuses on Jesus all year then it’s easy to believe the truth even when other myths such as the Easter Bunny & Tooth Fairy drop aside.
The problem I have with this argument though is sort of like an illustration of when I discovered that unicorns weren’t actually real… that new understanding didn’t stop making me believe in horses. Why? Because I could see horses all year long. It was belief in unicorns that had fooled me, not the reality of horses. So when our kids see Jesus all year long (through worship and belief in him) finding out the truth about Santa will not shatter their belief in what they know to be true.
Questions to Consider
How has your family handled Santa Claus? Do you include him or not?
What could be some potential negatives to focusing Christmas on Santa?
What could be some potential positives for including Santa?
Is it possible to use Santa to better explain Jesus? What would you say if asked?
Have you ever treated Jesus as Santa Claus (simply asking of him certain things and hoping that he’ll come through?)
Does your family do anything special during Christmas to keep the focus on Jesus?
What are some things that your family could do?
Who can name 5 of Santa’s Reindeer?
Who can name 5 Jesus’ disciples?
Of all the stuff you’re hoping Santa brings you this Christmas, how can you use just one of those things to make an impact for Jesus?