Well it’s that time of year where our Western Culture starts anticipating Santa Clause is Coming to Town.
As you read this post, remember … Santa Clause is coming to my house this year 🙂
The idea of Santa’s arrival is:
- more than just our neighbors putting inflatable Santa figurines/blowups in their yards along with a gazillion lights strewn across their home (my dream decos by the way)
- more than consumer signs in stores telling of sales, bargains or enticements for the latest greatest “widget.”
(Did I mention Santa’s North Pole exclusive contract with Apple to use and promote iPad Air only?)
- more than lyrics in the music we sing: Santa Clause is Coming to Town.
The idea of Santa’s arrival is ingrained in the fabric of the imagination of most kids. It comes either through stories handed down from parents, other kids talking with each other, or repetitious viewing of toddler television shows (which is the case in my home: The “evil” (tongue-in-cheek) cartoon “Max and Ruby.” [taught my 3 year old about Santa (bunny) Clause’s entire North Pole to Chimney operation.]
Santa, shopping, TV specials, and everything else have buried the real meaning of Christmas (God Himself becoming one of his creation in the person of Jesus Christ.)
Even my 3 year old Lindsey has chatted up Santa Clause – all without mom or dad saying a word about him or his supposed operation. Thank you “Max and Ruby.”
Some out there reading this may ask. “And … ? (Yawner. Next blog please.)“
Some out there reading this may say flatly “There is no Santa Clause. Deal with it. Move on.”
But there is a crowd out there to which Santa Clause can cause … debate. Even anxiety.
The Truth is Narrow
“Santa Clause? Cause Anxiety? Who is that crowd?”
Well. It’s my crowd. Or more personally, its me, and people like me.
We are Bible believers who want an accurate Gospel representation of Jesus’ birth, as narrated in the Gospel of Luke.
- There were no wise men at the stable.
- These Maji (or wise men) came to Jesus’ parents house – not in Bethlehem – when Jesus was probably starting to walk or had already been walking a while.
There were more than three men: possible an entourage of up to hundreds or even thousands strong, on horses. (Thus “a” reason all Jerusalem was disturbed along with Herod – fearing attack)
– Expositor’s Bible commentary, Matthew, Mark, Luke edited by Frank E. Gaebelien – pp 85)
– Bible Background Commentary, Matthew 2:2 (wordsearchbible.com electronic version)
- Only three gifts.
- Christmas trees? No.
But here’s some fun background to read.
- Santa Clause? No.
But here is some interesting background on a real man St. Nicholas
(biography.com and ChristianityToday)
- many other traditions, like Mistletoe, Deck the Halls, Egg Nog: no no no
- proof positive of an evil influence – EGG NOG TASTES HORRIBLE
“How narrow of you!” someone can tell me crowd.
They’re right! The truth is the truth, and it can be pretty narrow.
The most avid adult Santa supporter, will admit today – THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUSE (Dear Lord please do not allow this blog to spoil some 8 year old child’s Christmas joy.)
And to bolster our bullet point list, me and my crowd will throw in some other things to heap onto the truth, bolstering our position:
- Don’t tell your kids Santa Clause is real.
When you blow his cover, they’ll have a hard time believing Jesus is real too.
- Rearrange Santa’s name slightly and you will easily spell “S-A-T-A-N”
(one of my humorous favorites actually)
- Santa detracts from the real meaning of Christmas (again see Luke 2)
This is the real danger posed.
And so we are now positioned against the culture we are trying to reach, positioning our kids against that same culture (sometimes defensively isolating them in the process), offended for Jesus, working to set a crooked world straight through our own charisma and strength.
Yup. That was me (minus a kid in my household looking for Santa to come.)
I wasn’t on a war path against Santa, but I was determined to not even play that Reindeer game – even to the point to march my family to the truth.
Conclusion: We are Free in Christ
Thankfully, because of Jesus Christ dying in my place – fulfilling the requirements of the Law and its regulation that something must die in my place for my sin – I have been set free from a HOST of things that could become a burden in my life.
1 Corinthians 10:23-25 exhorts us that all things are Lawful, but not all things are helpful.
Our observance (or lack thereof) of modern Christmas traditions (Santa Clause, lights, egg nog (Yuk!), Christmas trees, etc) is up to us.
Translation: WE ARE FREE.
Free to celebrate Christmas with all the add-ons.
Or free to not.
Galatians 5:1 (ESV) 1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Speaking of the practice and bondage to Sin)
Galatians 5:13-14 (ESV) 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Use Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as your guide whatever you do, teaching your kids diligently to know the Lord as go along the way.
- If you practice the Santa tradition:
- Great! Just point to the fact that God becoming a man is the pre-eminent reason we celebrate this time of year. “Santa Clause” can never detract from that fact.
- If you avoid Santa and all the traditions
- don’t drag other’s celebration down an emotion drain of your creation.
Let other’s run with it. If we’re in Christ, we’re free.
- don’t drag other’s celebration down an emotion drain of your creation.
- If you see someone who doesn’t know Christ and what he’s done
- let your voice ring out with the truth of why we celebrate Christmas and why God becoming a man is such a big deal – Jesus Christ, born to die, in our place.
- Romans 10:14-15 (ESV)
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
My Conclusion for my Family
I grew up with Santa Clause.
I grew up with Jesus.
The sobriety of God becoming a man sticks with me, yet the childhood memories, wonder and anticipation of a Red Elf coming into my home somehow lifts my heart for this time of year. I trust the same with Lindsey as I remind her of the “why we celebrate” this time of year.
Much of the year lacks the brightness this time of year for me – except summer when I am swimming at midnight under a full moon 🙂 And yes, I understand it is dark for a lot of people – that can be another post. So I want to celebrate Christmas in its fullness: the side with the real-reason (Jesus), and the “add-on” side (lights, trees, Santa.)
Santa Claus is welcome to come to my house this year, and the next. As I see my little girl asking about Santa Claus while singing Frosty the snowman songs, I am excited to see her eyes as round as silver dollars come Christmas morning. I enjoy circling my neighborhood looking at Christmas lights as she looks in wonder at all the decorations. It all makes this time of year a fun celebration. January will come soon enough with its drab cold and short days.
God is sovereign enough to sort out the truth, and He is able to sort out the truth for anybody he so desires.
He did it for me (even when I wasn’t looking for truth.) So let’s be free this Christmas.