I grew up in a home where Santa was welcomed at Christmas. And even when my own children were young, we had a tradition of Santa gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. But in the Christian world, this is quite the debate.
One thing I can assure you is this, it’s up to each individual to live their convictions. I had once observed how confused a young five-year-old boy became when he was told Santa was evil. Everywhere he turned, Santa was in the stores, on commercials, and stories were told of him at school. And to the little boy, Santa looked good, not bad.
When I became a Christian as an adult, that memory shaped how I would deal with Santa with my own children. To them, it was an extra gift under the tree in the tradition of a man named St. Nick who had a giving nature like God asks of all of us. But most importantly, if you asked any of my young children what Christmas was about, they would all tell you Jesus.
So what does Jesus think of Santa? What might He possibly say to him?
1. Thank you for keeping the Spirit of Christmas alive.
Whether we, as Christians, like it or not, much of Christmas is commercialized. But it’s still called Christ-mas, not Santa-mas. So despite how many homes recognize Jesus as the reason or not, His name is spoken and He is lifted in song at school events, malls, and in the streets by carolers. You won’t find this in February, March, July, or any other month of the year.
Paul said it best: “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:18).
2. Thank you for teaching people to give.
Christmas is about giving–whether it’s out of obligation and tradition, or from the heart. God is also about giving. “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). And there’s something about being unselfish and spending our time and money on others that breaks the back of the devil. He hates it. But I believe God smiles.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” This is why the power of giving gifts this time of year is so Christ-like. God loved, and He gave. His nature rubs off on every person who does the same. And in the tradition of the wise men, we give to others in honor of the One who gave Himself.
And lastly, I think Jesus may tell Santa:
3. As much as you can, keep it about Me.
Christians get so mad at the commercialism of Christmas and Santa, but forget that we’re not called to celebrate Christ only once a year. It’s always–every day–about Christ (for Christians, anyway). Santa simply represents a man who gave to the poor in need, without asking anything in return, and did it cheerfully.
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). It’s a stretch I know, but does this scripture indicate maybe God loves Santa because he gives so cheerfully?
Keeping Christ in Christmas is the responsibility of every Christian, not just Santa. So whether we’re giving or singing, our focus should always be on the love of God and the glory of His Son–no matter what path gets it done.
God doesn’t want His glory given to any man or tradition. But I don’t think Santa is the one stealing it. People give glory where they want. So blame the non-Christian marketing firms of all the companies around the world if you want, but Santa is a reminder of giving, and a way to keep Christ spoken of everywhere.
JESUS IS LORD! Merry Christmas!