Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Found God In Santa Claus...

I know there are some Christians out there who want to distance themselves from Santa Claus and the commercialism that accompanies the Christmas holiday. It makes sense, Santa does often overshadow the true purpose to the Christmas celebration. But, I happen to love Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas he symbolizes, and I think there is room for both Jesus AND Santa Claus at Christmastime.

Of course, if you compare the two side-by-side, Jesus is the clear winner (exerpt below by the Rev. James Spellman):

Santa lives at the North Pole ... JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh ... JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year ... JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies ... JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited ... JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa ... JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap ... JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl,what's your name?" ... JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly ... JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO ... JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry" ... JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys ... JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but ... JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree ... JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.

But what about their similarities...? God and Santa are very similar in many respects (exerpt below originally from HERE - and yes, it's tongue-n-cheek):

They look and dress alike: Both are older dudes with big fluffy white beards and both wear robes (sort of, Santa's red outfit looks like something you could wear as a robe).

They're both all-knowing: God, in his omniscience knows everything that has happened. Santa is virtually the same, he knows what EVERY person did EVERY year.

They're both everywhere: Just ask any priest, particularly in a church, and they'll tell you that God is everywhere. Santa delivers presents for the WHOLE world (at least those of us that celebrate Xmas and can afford it, but who's counting??) in one night, that's darn near close to omnipresent.

They're both all-powerful: God, because you know he created the universe and all that. Santa, because let's face it, the dude is a supply chain genius, even better than Michael Dell, that's pretty omnipotent.

They both judge: God looks at our lives, whether we've sinned or not and decides our eternity in heaven or hell. Santa looks at our lives, whether we've been good or bad and decides whether we'll get the GI Joe with Kung Fu Grip, American Girl Doll (heaven) or a lump of coal (hell) of course that's only for a year but you get the point.

They are both related to Jesus: Jesus is apparently God's only begotten son and Santa brings gifts ONLY on Jesus birthday, I can't think of many people other than parents that would celebrate their child's birthday EVERY year LONG after he died. I guess we're the beneficiary of Santa not being able to let go.

They both live in billowy white areas: God--Clouds, Santa--Snowy North Pole.

They both have friendly, protective servants: God--Angels, Santa--Elves

They both get offerings from the believers: God believers give money, Santa believers give him cookies and milk.

What I love the most about Santa is the way he inspires others to spread goodwill and charity at Christmastime. Many of us remember our own childhood Christmases where Santa brought that one magnificent gift that we'd been craving (For me, it was a 4-foot long, Kenner Glamour Gals Cruise Ship). Now that I'm a "grown-up," I want other kids to feel that same joy - so our family joins in on all of the adopt-a-family opportunities we can afford (through our church, the kids' schools, hubby's work, etc.). Christmas makes people feel generous. Of course, it'd be nice if we all felt generous all year around. Of course, it'd be nice if we did it "just because Jesus would want us to." But if the end result is that Santa is a good "non-partisan" type figurehead that inspires people across different sub-faiths to be more generous... so is that really a bad thing??

I don't know if God objects to Santa. I do know he doesn't like it when people or things overshadow Him and His Son. But, there ARE ways that we, as Christians, can use Santa to remind children of the true meaning of Christmas: GIVING:

God gave the world His only son.
Jesus gave His life for the salvation of the world.
We can give to others in the spirit of Christmas.

T.A.W. wrote a fabulous article on enjoying BOTH Jesus and Santa at Christmas. My favorite idea was to write a letter from Santa to your children:

Dear [Child's Name],

It's so great to see you this year! I've been having lots of fun making trips around the world. Thank you for the cookies and milk. I'm glad to know that you've been very good all year!

Rudolph has been guiding my sleigh this year, as usual. If you hear thumps on your roof top, it's probably him.

I wanted to let you know why I do this every year. I love to see your smile when you open a present from me. However, the reason for Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus gave the ultimate gift when he died on the cross. He gave us life. And that is why I give presents every year to remind children (and adults, too!) that Christmas is about giving. If you know the Christmas story about Jesus, why don't you share it with your family?

Ho! Ho! Ho! And Merry Christmas! I know you will have lots of fun today.

Love, Santa

Still not sure how Santa can be "Christlike?"

Read this article about a Jewish man, Jay Frankston, who dressed as Santa for many years - bringing gifts to needy children...

Or visit and see how volunteers sort through thousands of "Dear Santa" letters at local post offices and bring gifts to the neediest children based on their letters.

Santa is a servant of Christ too.

I love this Oath by the Rocky Mountain Santa:
The Santa Claus Oath

I will seek knowledge to be well versed in the mysteries in bringing Christmas cheer and good will to all the people that I encounter in my journeys and travels.

I shall be dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both children and adults.

I understand that the true and only gift I can give, as Santa, is myself.

I acknowledge that some of the request I hear will be difficult and sad. I know in these difficulties there lies an opportunity to bring a spirit of warmth, understanding and compassion.

I know the "real reason for the season"
and know that I am blessed to be able to be part of it.

I realize that I belong to a brotherhood and will be supportive, honest and show fellowship to my peers.

I promise to use "my" powers to create happiness, spread love and make fantasies come to life in the true and sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend.

I pledge myself to these principles as a descendant of St. Nicholas, the gift giver of Myra.

Phillip L. Wenz
©Arcadia Publishing

There's room in my heart for both Jesus and Santa, but I welcome your thoughts and comments too!
Merry Christmas!!
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