OK, I’ll admit this image is a little much 😉
Nothing, I mean nothing, was more exciting for me as a kid than waking up on Christmas morning and seeing what goodies Santa put in my stocking.
When my parents told me that Santa doesn’t exist and that they were the ones who filled my stocking, responded to my notes, and ate the cookies I left out, I was shocked—at first.
It soon dawned on me that my sole interest in believing in Santa was because of the gifts, and when I realized they wouldn’t be affected with my newfound knowledge, I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my business. (I found it strange that for years my parents gave me gifts but gave the credit to someone who didn’t exist.)
Years later, I came to realize just how much I worshipped Santa and his gifts as a child. It wasn’t taught, but attending a public school, watching Christmas movies aimed at kids, singing popular Christmas songs, and just living in America during Christmastime told me that Santa was more worth celebrating than the Christ of Christmas.
My wife and I do not yet have children, but if the Lord should so bless us, we will tell them the truth about Santa from the beginning. I hold nothing against my parents nor against Christian parents who choose to do the whole “Santa thing.” If you decide to tell your kids that Santa is real, keep in mind a few reasons my future children will never believe in Santa Claus:
1. Santa doesn’t exist.
I hope this doesn’t need an explanation.
2. Believing in Santa buys into the culture’s construction of Christmas.
If Christians do not celebrate Christ at Christmas, there’s a chance that the advertisements, songs, and movies will shape our Christmas celebrations more than the Christ we claim to celebrate.
Scripture tells us to not conform to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Does your celebration of Christmas look more like worldly rituals or spiritual mind renewal leading to heart worship?
3. Santa steals worship from Christ.
The enemy rejoices when people glorify Santa instead of Christ—especially in songs that attribute to Santa what is only true of God. I’m thinking of songs like “Here Comes Santa Claus”:
He sees you when you’re sleeping
he knows when you’re awake
he knows if you’ve been bad or good
so be good for goodness sake!
Or think of Kevin McAllister’s cousin (the bed wetter) at the end of Home Alone 2 when Kevin breaks the news to him that Santa doesn’t deliver presents to hotels. As a true Santa devotee, he responds, “Of course he does, he’s omnipresent!”
What if our kids had that same faith and excitement about Christ?
4. Kids may lump Jesus in the same category of Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy in the future.
If we tell our kids to believe in imaginary figures like Santa and the Easter Bunny who they don’t see, but then tell them years later neither of them actually never existed, what will they think about Jesus? Why not use the same energy to testify of the excellencies of Christ?
5. Santa-centered Christmases stoke the fires of materialism.
Baseball cards, bikes, sports equipment, movies, the newest Gameboy game (preferably Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball or one of the Donkey Kong Country games). These were the reasons I looked forward to Christmas as a kid.
Our family still did the “Christian” part of Christmas—attending church, reading the birth narrative of Christ, and having other devotional times—but for me, Christmas was all about getting gifts.
Parents, you can avoid this. I encourage you to use the similarity between the words presents and presence to talk about God’s greatest present to us, His own presence in Jesus, as evidenced in his name Immanuel, which means God with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
What if our Christmas celebrations modeled the words of Christ, “it is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35)? What if we saw the Christmas season as a chance to bless others less fortunate rather than loading our closets with more stuff? What if your kids truly believed Jesus is better than materialism?
A Simple Call to Celebrate Christ
Santa didn’t leave the comforts and joys of heaven to become a lowly servant.
Santa didn’t endure rejection from his closest friends and family so you wouldn’t have to be rejected by God.
Santa didn’t sweat drops of blood as he awaited his execution that would by your redemption.
Santa didn’t die for your sins or open the path for you to become adopted into the family of God.
But Jesus did.
And that is good news of great joy for all people for all time—something truly worth singing about and dedicating every second of your entire life to.
Let the beautiful truth captured in Hark the Herald Angels Sing wash over you:
Hark the Herald Angels Sing!
Glory to the newborn king!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful all ye nations, rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Christ, by highest heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s Womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as Man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn king!
May the Lord deepen your family’s fellowship in and experience of Christ this Christmas season!
Related Posts: 31 Reasons Why Jesus Christ Came