Santa: Into the Game as a Second-String Jesus Sub


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December 23, 2018

This article will probably offend people. My intent is to speak truth as I understand it, and not to offend. But truth is sometimes not comfortable.

I have never been a Santa Claus fan and never will be. I do appreciate the existence of the actual Saint Nicholas and the things he did for the poor.

I greatly dislike the myth and the culture that has been built up around him.

I do not believe the mythical character, as he is understood and portrayed these days, is a neutral character. Nor do I believe he represents true goodness.

I realize stories and myths, such as the The Chronicles of Narnia, can offer much to the imagination and to stimulating the mind and heart toward right living.

To quote C.S. Lewis:

“The Narnian books are not as much allegory as supposal. Suppose there were a Narnian world and it, like ours, needed redemption. What kind of incarnation and Passion might Christ be supposed to undergo there?”

Wikipedia:

“The main story is an allegory of Christ’s crucifixion. Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmund, a traitor who may deserve death, in the same way that Christians believe Jesus sacrificed himself for sinners. Aslan is killed on the Stone Table, symbolizing Mosaic Law, which breaks when he is resurrected, symbolizing the replacement of the strict justice of Old Testament law with redeeming grace and forgiveness granted on the basis of substitutional atonement, according to Christian theology.”

There are elements in the Santa myth that might be taken that way.  But Lewis was deliberate in his analogy. Some early critics said his references to the Messiah were too obvious! The Santa myth seems to me much looser, and not an attempt to show a type of Jesus, but rather a feel-good story the emphasis of which is not our need of redemption, but our innate ability to be good people.

Maybe I am putting to much on the existence of a single song. But this song is very popular and is used every year to talk about this mythical semi-divine character.

Take a look:

“You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

“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!
O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town”

Consider what this is saying, devoid of the fun little tune to which it is attached. What kind of characteristics are given to Santa?

  • He knows every child on the planet.
  • He knows what every child does.
  • He judges whether there is goodness or badness in each one.

Other elements of the myth not mentioned in this song:

  • He can essentially be everywhere in a short amount of time.
  • He is a giver of countless gifts.
  • He has divine, miraculous abilities.

I believe that song is blasphemous. I believe the myth is blasphemous. Godly qualities — the qualities of Jesus — are assigned to this cartoon buffoon. That is the essence of blasphemy. Narnia was written with specific purpose. From what I can learn, Santa myth haphazardly developed without an express purpose of communicating the good news.

This character enables people to bypass, or at least mitigate the influence of, the Star of the wonderful event of the Incarnation. I know many people believe, or at least incorporate both Jesus and Santa into their Christmas celebrations.

I remember a discussion about this years ago with a coworker when I told him we never taught our kids to believe in Santa Claus. (We didn’t want to explain away the deception later.)

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Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash

His rejoinder: “Kids these days need a hero.“ What better hero is there than the Almighty Creator God, coming to this earth in the form of a human, and providing deliverance from sin for every person? The Lion and the Lamb! The Conquering King! The Healer! The Suffering Servant! And on we could go.

But Santa seems to get star billing in many quarters.  And what’s this thing about “magic”? What we have here is a Miracle, not “magic”. Jesus surpasses the biggest fantasy you can imagine.

Lest you call me a grouch, I have joy! There is no greater source of joy than knowing God. Santa seems to me to be almost an intrusion on that joy.

This article is excellent if you want to delve into this further and more deeply!


I am interested in what you think of this. I welcome your response.

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