Christmas is coming, and so are people wearing a red costume complete with a white beard and a very cheery "ho-ho-ho." Yes, it's the time of the year where Santa is seen in almost every mall and home decoration.
But seriously, should Christians believe in Santa Claus? Should Christian parents teach their kids about a jolly old man riding a sleigh driven by reindeers, especially one with a red nose?
A Christmas tradition
Santa Claus, aka Saint Nicholas, is a well-known figure around the world. People from all walks of life have heard about him. They say he's this jolly man who gives gifts to children who have been "good" or "nice" all-year-round. So many parents tell their kids stories about this man, and even try to make it appear like he really does drop by to squeeze his fat body into a chimney to leave a gift to a child.
Santa's origins feature a variety of people and cultures. In Dutch, his name is pronounced "Sinterklaas," which evolved into the English Santa Claus. According to history, people believe he was a Greek bishop named Nicholas of Myra, who gave gifts to the poor. In Britain, he's known as Father Christmas.
Some say Santa is associated with the pagan Germanic event "Yule" because it is believed that he absorbed characteristics from one of its key figures, a god named "Wodan," who also carries a name which translates to "long-beard."
Simply put, Santa Claus is a traditional Christmas figure whose origins do not stem from the Bible.
So should we believe in Santa?
This brings me to the meat of the matter. Should Christians believe in Santa?
You may think me harsh, but consider the following:
- He originated from a mixture of pagan and superstitious beliefs.
- He takes the focus off Christ during the Christmas season - although we can hardly blame him for that.
- His message of "gifts for nice kids" contradicts Christ's message of grace, that is, no one is good and deserving of love but because God loves us He saved us through Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection.
- His habit of not bringing gifts to "bad" kids gives us a wrong picture of God's love because God loves all men, but wants all to repent and be saved.
Our focus should be on following Christ Jesus, not another figure groomed as cuddly, jolly person who loves to bring some cheer to people.1 Timothy 4:7 tells us,
"...reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise [ourselves] toward godliness."
"But I don't believe in him!"
So many Christians say they do not believe in Santa but keep teaching their kids about him. Some say they don't believe him but they impersonate him to either bring cheer to others (especially kids) or just have fun.
Nevertheless, we must realize that what we say or do can only come from what's inside of us: our heart.
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)
What we believe in is evident from what we say and do. Let's evaluate ourselves and put all our faith and trust only in one person: the Lord Jesus Christ.