Is it Santa or Jesus at Christmas?
To Christians, the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important person to know at Christmas. But for some, Santa is. Without jolly St. Nicholas bounding into celebrations, the joy and excitement of the season could be gone. So, is Christmas about Santa, or Jesus?
Santa Generous and Good
His lusty Ho Ho Ho expresses his innate generosity and goodness, as he is the source of all benevolence and goodwill. Santa makes Christmas magic, says Lin Roberts in his pamphlet on the subject. One can scarcely imagine what Christmas would be like without the tinkling of sleighbells and hoofbeats on the rooftop and the thoughts of stockings stuffed with toys—even in the hot summers of the southern hemisphere.
Somewhere along the line, the image of a bellylaughing Santa delivering his brand of universal happiness has replaced the tender loving smile of an all-giving self-revealing and saving Lord Jesus. The naked cruel cross is replaced with a gift-heavy sagging tree.
Rob Your Family
So, the Santa of the western world might not be the kindly old gentleman he appears to be in the glossy ads and on the TV. When Santa comes to town, you better watch out that he doesn't rob your family of the most important and precious Christmas gift ever given.
While the original old Saint Nicholas was undoubtedly a good and gracious giving gentleman, the modern Santa has stolen more than he has ever given. He romanticised Christmas, mythologised it's purpose and fantasised it's meaning so that the true Christmas can remain a mystery to intelligent people.
The Greatest Gift
Christmas as we know it is celebrated because "'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son"—to save men from their sin and lift them to a new plain of victorious living.
Under the guise of generosity and goodwill, Santa has taken the place of God's Own Son—and he has effectively stolen God's Christmas gift at the same time. And to rob people of that gift is to rob them of Eternal Life.
That's the rub, says Lin Roberts.
Santa Takes Not Gives
If you'll see Christmas in it's merchandising light, you'll observe Santa stole many of God's attributes, too. Santa says that he...
a. "Knows when you are sleeping; he knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!" He is all-knowing.
b. Goes everywhere at the same time in the blinking of an eye on Christmas Eve. He is all-present.
c. Is portrayed as capable of granting any request. He Is all-powerful.
Santa does remarkable things:
He Assumes God's Character
d. He is revealed as the source of all benevolence and goodwill. He is good and gracious to all, giving gifts regardless of one's standing; our goodness or badness. In so doing, Santa subverts God's love and justice too. He is all-being.
e. Then, as he also assumes the rights of worship and glory, he is admired, honoured and praised. While some people object to any mention of Jesus Christ, the coming of Santa is the highlight of their year. He is worthy of all worship.
f. And as Jesus is said to live in the hearts and minds of His people, Santa also duplicates this attribute. Though Christmas is actually the birthday celebration of the King-of-Kings, multitudes reject or ignore Jesus in favour of the mythological old gentlemen dressed in red. He has become eternal.
So, you'd better watch out! If you look behind the mask and the white whiskers, you might discover that the genial St. Nick may be none other than the disguised serpent of Genesis I and 2. He has tried every conceivable method to alienate men from their Maker in the past. The question to ask, Is he trying to do it again?
Remember that the Bible warns that satan disguises himself as an angel of light to deceive the subjects. He puts on a disguise on the outside, that does not represent the work of God's Grace on the inside. The Greek word in the New Testament that describes this is, 'Skama.' Now, what does all this mean? Must we abandon the Christmas celebrations as we have had them in the recent past, and as some do, declare the event to be evil and prohibited?
What it does mean is that we are to be equipped with the right information to avoid deception and to look to the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than Santa. It does mean that we do not allow a laughing Father Christmas to control our decision-making, or to fall into any trap of his. Evil in the garb of good; as a deception, it's the cruelest trick of all.
You Can Still Have The Best Christmas Ever
When you know the real Lord Jesus Christ is living in your life, you are a new creation. The Greek word in the N.T. that describes this experience is 'Skorge'—a saving work inside that reveals itself by right being and living on the outside.
When you know that 'the one who does not enter by the door, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and robber," (John 10:1), and that ... whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life," you can arrange your life to worship the Saviour through the Christmas celebrations, which is the way it should be.
All at the Outback Patrol Institute wish that you and your family will live in the light and power of God's precious gift of eternal Salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and that you will have the best Christmas season of worship and family rejoicing—ever. But, here's what ten-year old children said why they thought Jesus & Santa were alike, when their teacher—a member of the Fellowship of Merry Christians, Joyce Jenson asked them. She compiled their answers into a Christmas tree like this, printed by the Joyful Noiseletter:
Both are old
Both are kind
Both care about kids
They both have beards
They are both well known
You have to believe in them
They both want us to be good
Jesus and Santa both love kids
Bethlehem is like the North Pole
Santa's elves are like Jesus' angels.
They teach you about giving to others
Heaven and Santa's workshop are alike
You think of them both at Christmas time
The Star in the East is like Christmas lights
Jesus and Santa make Christmas be Christmas
Jesus' sheep and cattle are like Santa's reindeer
They come in the night but are around in the day
We want Santa's gifts of toys and God's gift of Jesus
Both provide gifts
Meanwhile, other children made these comparisons, too ...
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 fills your heart with His presence.
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 and 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.
So, we are able to say, if Jesus was better than Moses (a servant in God's household) and Joshua (Israel's peacemaker in Canaan) in Hebrews 2-3, then Jesus is even better than the Holy Angels, too, it is a clear. Yes, obviously clear, Jesus (the divine Son of God over His household who will bring His people into eternal rest) is better than anyone else—he is even better than Santa Claus.
Hebrews 5-7 explain how Jesus is even better than Aaron's priesthood, whose task it was to build a bridge between frail manhood and a Holy God. But their sacrifices were perpetually repeated and soon or later the Priest died. By contrast, Jesus is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, which had no beginning and no end, yet Jesus exceeded even the Melchizedek priesthood, as Jesus rose from the dead, something no priest ever could do.
Truly, Jesus Christ is better than Aaron or Melchizedek, or anyone.
Thus, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son, hath not life" (I John 5:12).
Go to: http://www.promiseofgod.com/teach/
© Biblical Foundations, Inc., John 3:16, Outback Patrol's Walkabout Newsletter, © Fellowship of Merry Christians, various unknown authors. © Linleigh Roberts and Leslie Nixon 12/99.
This pamphlet may be reproduced in it's entirety without permission, with no changes to the text or intent, with the following credit: "© Reprinted with the permission of Linleigh Roberts and Leslie Nixon."
(Ask for an original to use for photocopy purposes)