Santa, Naughty or Nice?

In order to avoid living like a Pharisee and reducing Christianity to a set of legalistic rules, it is necessary to never set standards for others that the bible does not make perfectly clear; we should never set arbitrary standards for others where the bible does not say explicitly thou shalt or thou shalt not. Where the Bible is not explicit, it is necessary to let our conscience be our guide as it is accurately informed by Biblical principles, which may not be clear for others.  Having said that, allow me to share my conscience regarding Santa Claus.

Present day Christianity as a whole has little problem with worldliness; worldliness is that willingness to embrace the philosophy and behavior of a world that has no regard for Christ or those who follow Him.  I’m not even sure that worldliness is part of today’s church vocabulary; so I fear that for many in the church today it is not acceptable to even question Christmas with Santa Claus in a primary role.

Then also, we might ask the question is Christmas a Christian holiday? We find no reference in the scriptures regarding celebrating the birth of Christ, that is, as a matter of command. Much of our society has changed in the last forty to fifty years regarding this holiday. At one time Christmas was almost entirely about the birth of Christ, but more recently the tale of Saint Nicholas has dwarfed the true meaning and replaced Christmas as the gift of Christ given to the world with the giving of gifts by Santa to little boys and girls.

Personally, I think that the people of the world may live however they choose without any recourse from me, I am not the judge of people and they owe me nothing with regard to their own personal sense of right and wrong. However, what is laid upon me is the way I am to live in the world, which according to God’s word is a very dark place.

“But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise; 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:13-16

It seems to me with regards to the issue of Santa Claus, there is one guiding principle in the Bible that should govern our thinking, never take the glory that belongs to God and give it to another, “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8. Look around you and you will see stores, trees, and front lawns, arrayed with statues of a jolly fat man in a red suit and white beard that has never existed. Children are told by their parents that he is coming to pay them a visit on Christmas eve, as if that were the true meaning of Christmas; only to find out later in life that they have been lied to, of course lying is a sin. The question that should be asked with regards to Santa Claus is do we make an idol out of him by replacing Christ.

No matter what the people of the world think and do, it behooves the Christian to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ and in so doing be different than the world, which for me in this case is to remove that which takes my focus off of Christ. I do not believe that I should ever replace Him on a day set aside to remember His birth into the world and His subsequent gift of life, His sufferings, sin bearing, and resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven and replace all that with gifts of another kind. There is certainly nothing wrong with giving gifts to others, so long as the gift of Christ overshadows all such gifts in such a way as to make them almost completely incidental. Is that the way your Holiday transpires?

Does Santa Claus actually steal praise and glory that belongs to Christ alone? It seems to me that there is one God in the universe and He has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, as stated in Hebrews 1. But today we are told that there is an elf that we need to watch out for, we should not cry or pout because he is coming to town. Furthermore, he is making a list, he’s checking it twice, and he’s going to find out if we have been naughty or nice. It seems that this jolly and very giving elf can look all over the world and see us when we are sleeping and awake, and even more discerning than that, he can look at the actions of us all and know whether or not we have been good or bad. So as a result of this belief we should not do what is right out of a love for God, or because of the sufferings of Christ, but so we can get toys both for the young and the old. The person that is willing to compromise will say at this point, I can take the good and leave the bad, which often times is like trying to eat steak that contains strychnine in the hope that we won’t be affected.

When my kids were in their teens I instituted a tradition in our home, which began at Thanksgiving Day and ran through Christmas. I asked all in the family to give thought in the coming weeks as to what they would like to offer Jesus on Christmas day as a gift to Him on His birthday. And then we would share our offering with one another on Christmas day. It became clear to me at that time that it is all too easy to leave Christ out of Christmas with all the fan fair of present day festivities.

Again, I think it important to note that the things that I write about govern my own personal conscience and if the reader thinks differently that is quite all right so long as their conscience is clear. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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