December 17, 2007

Santa: the anti-Jesus?

No, I'm not trying to be a Santa hater, but I think it's good to remember his very nature (story, background, etc) has been created by a human understanding of righteousness.

This all started when I caught myself humming "Santa Claus is coming to town". It struck me like no other year that Santa's gifts are based on our actions or our ability to be good. In contrast, listen to what kind of gift Jesus gives:

Romans 6:23-For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:16-The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.

How awesome is that promise. The free gift came TO those of us who are bad and on the "naughty" list! And according to Romans 3:23, that's all of us. None of us can deny it's fun to get gifts from "Santa" or anyone else at Christmas, but why stop there when we have a gift that lasts forever!

Saturday night a friend of mine hosted a cookie exchange where we got to hear what everyone does as their Christmas traditions. We are still developing ours, but I came away knowing I want to use the presents under the tree to re-emphasize the free gift of Christ. My poor children are probably going to get sick of hearing every year, "Your dad and I bought these gifts because we love you, not based on how good you are. God came down in the form of a man (initially a baby) for the same reason." My sincere prayer is that my children grasp the infinite love of their Savior, Jesus Christ, and that reality changes their lives forever.


Stephanie said...

I had no idea you weren't into Santa. Me either. In fact, gasp, horror of horrors! My children are told the truth about Santa - he's a fun story about a man in a costume but he isn't real. Unlike Jesus, who is real.

We've been analyzing our Christmas traditions also. In fact, Joel and I have decided to start opening our gifts on Christmas Eve (he has the day off) so we can further separate the gift giving from The Gift of the Christ-child.

Alicia said...

One of the families at this party I went to the other night does their gifts on Christmas Eve, too. It dawned on me that possibly the only reason we open them Christmas morning is because Santa comes in the night. I had never thought of that before.

I think my blog made me sound harsher than I really feel (and I changed a few things to calm it down a bit), but yeah, if you came into my house you would see snowmen.

Shayna said...

I've never been a big fan of Santa, either. My parents never taught us to believe in him, so it wasn't really an issue, and I didn't even realize until much later in life that other children really *had* believed in him. I thought they were just playing along with the silly adults.

I know what you mean about the conditional nature of Santa's gift-giving, at least according to the legends we have now, which I suppose parents use to control their children.

It doesn't seem that many adults I know were scarred by their belief in Santa Claus, and I'm sure most parents who do the Santa thing just want it to be fun for their kids. I just worry about the childrens' feelings of betrayal when they find out it wasn't true the way they were led to believe. Or maybe it doesn't work that way? It's a bit hard for me to comprehend.

Sorry for babbling! I've just been thinking about this lately, too.

Shayna said...

I was thinking about this more later (surprise) and remembered a beautiful, short essay from one of Annie Dillard's books, Teaching a Stone to Talk - "God in the Doorway," in which she talks about her childhood reactions to Santa Claus and compares it to how she sometimes experiences God. I found it published here -