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Santa Claus, Satan Claws, What’s the Difference?

December 15, 2012

Another Christmas season has come upon us and another string of screaming children held by the jolly elf in red have popped up on our facebook feeds once again.  I have nothing against the men who portray Santa, in fact, I consider one such sweet man to be a good friend.  I want him and every other “Santa” out there to know that what I’ll be expressing today is not to be taken personally, because I know they each have a true heart for children and playing Santa is one way they share their love for children, each year.  It’s the concept which I will be tackling here today.

 

How wrong is this?

 

I was just as guilty of setting my frightened toddlers in Santa’s lap (when I only had two boys) so that I could have a keepsake Christmas memento.  It was before I had been convicted of lying to my children, so I played Santa as well, at home, decking my house out in secular fashion, also.  But really, especially after seeing this year’s round of screaming, frightened babies forced to sit for a picture in a complete stranger’s lap, it made me wonder why, we as parents would ever do such a thing to our precious babies!  The pictures are horrifying, the babies are completely out of their comfort zone, and the parents…well, they seem to be both proud and amused.

 

We celebrate a man who breaks into our homes and eats our food and makes our babies severely uncomfortable.  My title speaks for itself.  Santa is just a few letter-switches from becoming satan…and Claus sounds like claws, and when you think about the act of handing your child over to a complete stranger who plans on breaking and entering later in the month, it really can give you pause…not paws, ha!

 

I know you don’t want to read this, I know you are probably thinking about now, that I am Mrs. Grinch, who is attempting to steal Christmas.  But really, Christmas is not supposed to be about that jolly elf anyways, it’s supposed to be about the birth of our Savior, God coming into flesh.  Celebrating His holiness and that one, life-changing gift from God, given to all man kind.

For Unto Us a Son is Given

 

As our children get older, they become more open to Santa, because, by golly, he comes bearing gifts!  Their initial fears though, should not be overlooked.  I believe there is a reason for their fears that goes beyond Mama and Daddy handing them over to the stranger in the red suit.  I believe those are the cries of the angels, tears that are knowledgeable of the future full of lies that those babies will be drug through, at first kicking and screaming, but eventually, just as excited as their parents for the days of Santa. 

 

I realize that the Santa story began with a bishop named Nikolaos, later to be recognized as a Saint, who lived back in the 200s-300s.  He was a very good man, but he was a man, yet.  He took joy in secretly leaving coins in the shoes of little boys and girls almost two centuries ago.  Upon his death, he was entered into Sainthood, because of his goodness, just as Mother Theresa was, upon her death, in our time.  I’m not one to put an ounce of weight into praying to the saints either, but I’m not going to open another can of worms here.

Saint Nikolaos (via Wikipedia)

 

I am pretty sure that as a Saint, Nikolaos would never have imagined stealing such glories from our Lord and Savior, no, I’m not sure he would approve of his earthly idol status, in the slightest.  Seriously, think about that, for just a moment.  Nikolaos was doing exactly what we are all charged to do, he gave to the poor, the orphans, and the widows.  But the kicker is that he gave in secret!  He wasn’t looking for the glory, I’m pretty sure I can assume that he wanted all glory to go to God, as it should!

And today, we find renderings of his face plastered all over town, on the television, and in the stores, but what of Jesus?  Why isn’t His picture all over the place?  Because He’s been replaced with an idol.  And Satan Claws is so happy about this, that he can’t stand it!!  We’ve played right into His hands, haven’t we?

When I found out Santa was not real (nor was the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy or the Sandman, for that matter), I was crushed!  I couldn’t help but wonder if Jesus was just make believe too.  Fortunately, God has a heart for His children, and He made sure that I knew fact from fiction, as it was His very real love that comforted me as I slowly got over the fact that my parents had been lying to me for seven years.  As I became a parent, I at first, got wrapped up in the opportunity to play Santa for my children.  But with each coming year, I felt more and more convicted of my foolishness, guilty for allowing fiction to share the holiday stage with the ultimate Truth.  Weaning the children off of Santa wasn’t hard, because I told them, the reason their Daddy and I would be giving them gifts, yes, they would still receive gifts, was to be in honor of the Greatest Gift of All.  They dug it!  And it works for us.   Just as we don’t deserve the gift that God delivered to us in the form of a newborn baby, oftentimes, my children do not deserve their Christmas presents.  But God gave us Jesus anyway, so in the same spirit, we give gifts to our children in spite of the fact that sometimes, they are undeserving.  Because we love them, just as God loved us so much that He GAVE us His only begotten Son.  So that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life! (John 3:16)

We still hang our stockings and decorate our tree, and sing Christmas songs, but they know the difference between fantasy and reality.  And we put way more emphasis on the reality of the birth of Christ than the fantasies of Frosty, Rudolf, and Santa.  Yes, they most definitely are characters that should be lumped in the same fictitious category.  My kids also like Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, and to them, Santa is that kind of hero, the conjurings of an awesome and wild imagination.

 

I am not trying to condemn anyone here, for those who play Santa, bless little ones in need with presents their families could never afford to provide.  No, the friend I mentioned earlier, is a hero in my mind.  I believe in his goodness and charitable heart and I absolutely love that he is such a giver!  He makes it really hard for me to blast the concept, because every year, he pulls out his suit, dusts it off, fills his bag with goodies and literally becomes Saint Nikolaos in the flesh!  He blesses many families, but he does so through the heart of God.  He is spurned into these kind acts by a deep, profoundly beautiful love and appreciation for our Savior, and in obedience to the charge of caring for those in need.  May God continue to bless his special ministry.

 

This year, on a massive billboard in Time Square (NYC), the atheists have plastered the most offensive sign.  It says, “Keep the Merry” with a picture of Santa Claus, and “Dump the Myth”, with a picture of Jesus on the cross.  I don’t know what is wrong with those people, but they will be repaid for their blasphemous and unkind methods, one day.  But I say dump the elf and Praise the King!

 

If you find that the image of Santa outweighs the images of the manger scene and that the story of Christ’s birth is overshadowed by the excitement that Santa is coming to your home, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your position and get your priorities in line with our Savior again…because Santa is not coming, but Jesus is. 

 

Until Next Time,

Vaya con Dios!

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