Santa at the Manger

At Christmas time when I visit a Christian book store and see the figurine of Santa with his cap in his hand kneeling at the manger where the Son of God is sleeping on hay I am saddened and offended. Santa, a fairy tale figure, bowing to the real Son of God.

We were shopping in a store and an elderly man stopped us and asked our young daughter, “What’s Santa giving you for Christmas tonight?” She so adult-like replied, “Santa doesn’t come to our house. Our mommy and daddy give us presents.”

Another example of a child being confronted by the fat Red Suit asking, “What is Santa leaving under your tree this year for such a sweet little boy?” The young boy answered, somewhat shyly, “Mom and dad put our gifts under the tree for us.”

While we enjoy the story of St. Nicholas, we need to consider three attributes that we are ascribing to Santa.

1. He is omniscient for he remembers what every “good boy and girl” in all the world wants for Christmas and he wraps that specific present up, puts each child’s name on it and signs it “From Santa.” It is estimated that there are more than five billion people in the world and 2/3 of those are children. Wow! He and his elves must have been busy making all those gifts, signing and wrapping them.

2. He is omnipresent for he delivers to most of the countries in the world in one long, very long night., especially if he’s got to climb down a chimney and back up in every house that happens to have a fireplace.

3. He is omnipotent for he is powerful enough to ride in an open vehicle powered by 6 or 8 reindeer who suddenly fly to every house in all the neighborhoods in the world, in all kinds of weather conditions, where Christmas is observed, speak all the languages and dialects, and  able to carry in one vehicle all the billions of presents he’ll deliver. And he’s got to get all the gifts into one bag and load them into his open sleigh,

These are attributes that should only be ascribed to God.

In addition there’s a slight moral issue also. Every time he signs “From Santa” and a parent has purchased that gift, then he is lying. The Apostle Paul encourages us to “Speak the truth to one another.” But are we accusing Santa Claus with deception and even lying?

We tell our children lots of fairy tales – Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs. And these are part of their imaginative childlike spirit. But let’s not tell the “Night Before Christmas” without telling them the true story of Christmas. Perhaps minimizing the Santa Claus story may help us to focus more on the “Indescribable gift” (2 Cor 9:15) God gave us in that hay-filled manger–His own Son.

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