Jesus vs. Santa

I usually don’t write blogs concerning “non debatable” issues. However, this particular subject has been a hot topic as of late. The subject: Jesus vs. Santa. Obviously as Christians we know who wins. Yet the showdown between these two has been swirling the past couple of weeks, so I thought I’d give my take on this and would love to hear yours as well.

The question that continues to rise is, “Should we tell our children the reality of Santa? Or should we continue the innocence of this ‘make believe’ story?” When it comes down to it, its to each his own. Every family will have their personal convictions and beliefs when it comes to jolly ‘Ol Saint Nick and the baby Boy wrapped in swaddling clothes.

I remember believing in Santa when I was just a boy and swore that one day I would wake up in the middle of the night just to see him come down my chimney and eat the cookies and milk I left for him on the kitchen table. But I also remember my parents teaching me the truth about the fat man in the red suit. It was fun while it lasted.

The question left on the table is “when” and at “what age” should we tell our children the truth? Should we even start allowing the fantasy of a true Santa develop in the minds of our kids? Am I wrong as a parent to allow my kids the opportunity to enjoy a childhood fantasy? Or am I wrong as a parent to not allow them? I’m sure this question has come up once or twice in your conversations. So I thought I’d give you some food for thought.

First of all I see both points of view and realize that each individual has his/her own personal convictions as to what they teach their families. Secondly I realize that Santa Claus has been the “Christmas icon” for years now. However I also realize the almost “double standard” that we have made by putting Jesus under the same “umbrella”  of Ol’ Saint Nick. Please understand, I believe that “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is at stake here. If we all agree that Jesus is truly the “Reason for the season”, then we must TRULY make Him the sole reason of it.

I don’t necessarily think it does us any good with one side of the mouth to say “Jesus is the reason for the season” and with the other side ask our children “Hey kids, what would you like Santa to bring you?” It doesn’t really make sense now does it? If we are followers of Jesus Christ and our desire as parents is to disciple our children to follow biblical principles and to teach them that Jehovah Jireh is our true provider, to add another element and/or person to the mix of provision (i.e; Santa) could cause confusion to a child’s vulnerable mind.

For example, how many children do you think asked Santa this year to help their mommy and daddy not fight anymore? Or asked Santa to help give their daddy a job? Or ask Santa to stop the war in Iraq? Wouldn’t it be more effective for that child to be taught to go to a real person like Jesus for his/her heartfelt requests? To send them to the mall just to sit down on a man’s lap to share their heart with a man who doesn’t neither know them or care for them may not be the effective thing to do. A child’s faith should not be hindered by replacing it with the “innocent” story of Santa above the true and powerful story of the gospel.

Though innocent the story might be, the innocent story has no truth. I know some of you may bring up the story of St. Nick and the history of how the “Santa Claus” came about (good story by the way). But I also see a big difference between the story of St. Nick and today’s Santa Clause. If you would like a story to share with your kids as to how all this Santa Claus stuff came about, then you may want to share the story and history of St. Nick. But we must never take away the story of the true Man who wore a real red suit while on Calvary’s cross!

I encourage you to share the Christmas story with your family this season so we can put a little perspective as to why we do celebrate. But after you share it don’t tell your children “Ok kids, the sooner you go to sleep the sooner Santa comes” (Lol!)  This debate will probably continue until Jesus comes back. Everyone has their personal beliefs and convictions, therefore I will not tell you what to believe. Please also know that you’re not going to hell if you teach your kids to believe in Santa. But as parents, I would encourage you to keep them from hell by teaching them the truth now while they are young.  As Psalm 22: 6 states,”Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  

The question is left, “at what age should I bring out the facts about Santa”? My motive here is not to sound legalistic nor to allow families to celebrate Christmas in their own family traditions. I guess the best time to share the truth about Santa is at the age the child understands the concepts of Christ and their sinful nature. That could be at age 5, 6 or 7. We as parents must use discernment as to when and HOW we approach our children in this matter.

I leave you with this thought: Isn’t it funny how we will tell our kids this holiday season that Santa will bring them presents, yet with the money you made and with the job that God gave you? Let’s not let Santa partner in God’s glory this season. Let’s give the Lord not just December 25th, let’s give Him everyday of our lives as we teach these things to our children.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (5) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Until Next Year- Pastor Sammy (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!)

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3 thoughts on “Jesus vs. Santa

  1. Pastor Sam! Greetings my brother – wising you a wonderful Christmas time!

    Hot topic here, but I also think it’s a non-issue. I’ve been thinking about Christmas too and have come to the conclusion that this holiday is no more religious than St. Valentine’s Day. So it is in fact what we make it, or what we teach our kids.

    My sister and I didn’t grow up believing in Santa in the sense that he was the one responsible for all the gifts in December. In retrospect, I think we just thought of Christmas as a second personal birthday that had it’s own special characters. This might have to do with growing up in a Spanish-speaking household and Santa being a decidedly American phenomenon. It wasn’t until the age of 10-12 that we learned in church about El Niño Jesus y los Tres Reyes Magos.

    Fast forward 20 years later…my nephew thinks Christmas is Elmo’s birthday. We have failed at life. He’s only two but still. His last b-day was Elmo themed so that’s probably the association he’s making with the gifts under the tree and all. We took a field trip last weekend to a really awesome Nativity scene/Bethlehem tour at a church in Katy. They had live animals, story-telling, scripture reading–it was great. On they way up there I did some of my own it’s-baby-Jesus’-birthday explaining.

    So I think it’s never too early to start teaching children about the Christ in Christmas. And I personally don’t see a problem with kid’s believing in Santa so long as he’s background decoration–like the Grinch, Rudolph and all the other fun characters–I think it’s a healthy part of childhood dreaming that we outgrow eventually. We shouldn’t have to worry about Santa stealing Jesus’ thunder. I doubt that grown-up Christians help kids by saying Santa is “bad” or “evil.” I think the way to counter this is by teaching them truth instead.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Alex. Great point bro! At the end of the day, it’s the parents that must teach the truth to their children. I’m not against Santa, as a matter of fact I like seeing his fat little self. Just as long as our children know the difference between jolly ol’ saint Nick and the King Himself. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year bro!

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