Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

SAINT NICK OR SATAN CLAUS?

Maybe I’m feeling sentimental with this being my oldest daughter’s last full year home and all the Christmas memories and traditions we share, or I have an itch and need to scratch. Either way … here it goes: Give Santa Claus a break. Yes, this is dedicated to my Christian friends who go into melt down over a fictious holiday character.  His actual roots can be traced to a Turkish Bishop who gave gifts to children at Christmas time. Through the years the legend grew and he was morphed into Santa Claus. Clemet Moore, an ordained minister, gave us one of the most beloved and memorable stories of the season with his 1822 poem … A Visit from Saint Nicholas renamed ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.

Santa Claus went through several phases of looks from an elf to an old man to an evil look imp. Cocoa-Cola standardized him in the 1930’s with a red suit and a jolly face. Their concept is still the accepted version of today. In 1939 Montgomery Ward Stores added a reindeer named Rudolph and in 1949 Gene Autry put it to music.

As a kid I looked forward to Christmas Eve and Santa’s visit. Then came that fatal day … no, not when friends tried to tell he was made up … but when I found my presents hidden away. All the presents I had asked Santa for were in my mother’s closet. So that day some innocense was lost, and I grew up.

I had never had an issue of faith crisis in God created by a belief and then a disbelief in Santa. The Bible college I attended, Hyles/Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana, never made an issue out of Santa Claus. There were a few students who felt he detracted attention from the Lord at Christmas but then we need to discuss the truly pagan roots of the entire holiday (which I am not going to do here but did on the Drive @ 5 and you can listen … http://sermon.net/driveat5/sermonid/119779408 the second half of the program). In my first ministry as an associate pastor, the Senior Pastor was very opposed to Santa Claus and even stated that once a child discovered parents had lied about Santa then their faith in Christ would be shattered as well. That was the first time I was exposed to that thought line but not the last. Through the years I heard that reasoning repeated to the point that several years I wrote a booklet entitled: Give Santa A Break. This was written after a hostile Pentecostal preacher got in my grill over the letters in Santa are the same as Satan. Oh, brother…

My wife was very concerned about my decorating our first Christmas tree with Santa ornaments. Her mother and my mother-in-law was anti-Santa. She concerned him demonic and an evil plot by Satan to destroy children. Well, Santa was welcomed in MY home and, yes, with my children.  Now, there came a point even mother-in-law lightened up. I did preach annually, and she was a member of my church, that Santa Claus done in moderation was not evil.

People who fear losing their children in faith over learning the truth of Santa need to consider the following…

1. Who Are THEY Placing the Emphasis On at Christmas? Yes, we did Santa BUT he did not bring all the presents …only 1 or 2… and the main focus was on the birth of Christ. Our kids were in church for all the Christmas services, Christmas eve, and even Christmas Day if it was on a Sunday.

2. Who Are THEY Placing Emphasis On Throughout the Entire Year? We made a BIG deal out of answered prayer and special blessings that came our way. We made sure our children understood where those blessings came from. My children all served the Lord at an early age from my preschool age boys helping me Sunday morning arrange the offering envelopes and hymnals to my daughter singing in church to all of our children involved in the Bus ministry, soul winning, hospital visits, and shut in visitation. They were in church and children’s groups. We had and still have prayer everynight and the Lord is paramount in our home.

Additional thoughts… maybe the real issue is with the parents. IF they are living a double life or hypocritical that probably contributed more to a child’s loss of faith then Santa did. IF faith and the reality of Christ is not seen in the home throughout the year then that is where the real problem lies.

I’m sorry but the argument of lying regarding Santa leading to the loss of faith is weak and outright asinine. IF that’s the case then why should your children ever believe you again about anything from what to eat to what rules to follow to whatever???

It’s all in how it is presented.

What about the typical Sunday School that presents the events of the Bible as “stories” to children? Does that have an effect on kids? Yes.  We give them juice and toys in preschool nursery, stories and games in childrens’ church, and pizza-soda-amusement park trips-sports-hip hop-girl/guy relationship sermons as teens and then wonder why they blow out of church. Don’t blame Santa. Look in the mirror. Look at your church.

Have a Blessed Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

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