Christmas Controversy: Santa or Satan

Christmas controversies. History of Christmas traditions. No matter how you look at Christmas, it can evoke strong emotions in humans, even those who claim the meaning of Christmas evokes no emotion within them.

Most of the controversy surrounding Christmas stems from the fact that it is a religious, predominantly Christian, holiday. While there are many different avenues the controversy takes the form of, at the root of each of those controversies is a man named Jesus. It is His birthday we’re celebrating, you know!

However, there is another name that causes some Christmas controversy. That’s what I’m going to talk about tonight.

Santa Claus. St. Nicholas. Sinter Klaas. Christkind. Kris Kringle. Jultomten. Father Christmas. Pere Noel. A woman named Babouschka. A woman named La Befana.

The origin of Santa Claus was a real person who did give out gifts. No, he wasn’t necessarily a jolly, fat man. No, he didn’t necessarily dress in a red suit, with white trim, and black boots. No, there absolutely weren’t any reindeer.

He was just a man doing what he felt God wanted him to do.

I believe that is what all Christian people should do year round. Not only during the season we refer to as the Christmas season.

Somehow, though, society has come to association the Christmas holiday more with this fictitious “man” than the Christ-child who’s birthday celebration the holiday actually represents.

In today’s world, “Santa Claus” comes to visit all children every year. He tends to bring gifts that go way beyond basic necessities. Elaborate gaming systems, any new technological advance, expensive clothes, impersonal gift cards, and any other selfish request underage humans request.

I had a problem with “Santa Claus” early on in our marriage. Chris disagreed with my problem. I vehemently disliked the fact that we worked hard for money, spent time choosing perfect gifts, and then sat back and watched as some made-up man got credit for what we did. My kids were in love with what a lie could do for them. They knew they could ask “Santa Claus” for something that their parents couldn’t afford and have a good chance of getting it for Christmas.

Was I jealous of Santa Claus? Yes, you could say so. I hated the fact that a lie was getting credit for my work. If I do something, I expect to reap the reward, even if the reward is simply gratitude.

Christmas is not about the modern day definition of Santa Claus.

The truth is…there isn’t a Santa Claus. Parents or grandparents play the part and let this legend take the credit.

Then you have the kids. Let’s face it. Kids are smart. Not all kids, but many of them, know that parents are lying about Santa Claus long before they admit the fact to their parents. They have this fear that if their parents know that they know there isn’t a Santa Claus, they’ll stop receiving gifts.

So, in turn, the lie transfers from the parents to the children.

Our children have our permission to lie to us about this. We’ve been lying to them about it since birth.

Now, I know that my take on Santa is negative. There is another side to the coin.

Some will argue that Santa Claus represents the spirit of giving. He does. I’ll concede that much. I’m just not convinced it’s always done in the RIGHT spirit of giving. We do it because we’re expected to and to keep up, not truly to bless others and meet needs.

Some say building faith in Santa, a “person” children can’t see, creates a foundation for children to later build faith in Jesus, a Savior they can’t see. I find fault with this because children likely know that Santa was a lie before they come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

If we are hoping to transition them from Santa to Jesus, we are hoping to set them up for a relationship doomed to fail as it is based on lies.

Gosh, I was going to try to present both sides of this story without bias, but apparently I’m very biased.

Santa…great ideal…yet I’m always left wondering why it is in the English language that I can rearrange the letters in his name and spell Satan. I think I’ll stick to celebrating the birth of Christ on Christmas. Any gifts I give will be in remembrance of the gifts the Magi gave the Savior. No matter what I give Him, it won’t befit the King.


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