Friday, December 15, 2017

When Santa Wasn't Real

I was in the fifth grade when life as I knew it changed. I learned that Santa Claus, the man in the red suit who makes every Christmas dream come true, was a farce. He was never real. Suddenly, my entire existence was a lie. What about the Easter bunny? What about the tooth fairy? It was too much for my eleven year old soul to bear.

I found trying to imagine Christmas without good ol' Sant Nick was impossible. Christmas could not exist. And from that day forward, I swore I would not tell my future children about the fictional characters that often obscure the true meaning of the holiday season—Jesus!

Still, Santa and Jesus are similar. Why is this? After pondering the issue, it is the secular world's way of distracting from Jesus's glory with materialism. The diversion is so subtle at first that even Christians become just as wrapped up in the concept of Santa as the fancy gifts competed with the perfect red bow. Despite the striking comparisons, Santa Claus is not Jesus. Jesus is always one-up and manages to remind us why Christmas is dedicated to Him anyways.

Gift Giving

Residing in the North Pole, elves are Santa's gift giving sidekicks. They prepare year round to construct and gather the toys to fulfill the wish lists of little girls and boys. On Christmas Day, children awake wide eyed with excitement. Santa is acclaimed as the master gift-giver. The gifts given by friends and family cannot compete for his title.

Jesus, however, does not generously bring bikes and cellphones on Christmas. His gift is better, lasting an entire lifetime.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23, NIV
Such materialism conceals the best gift that he continues to give us—our lives!

All Knowing

Naughty or nice? Santa is perceived to know everything. From thousands of miles away, Santa is aware of which children are behaved the majority of the year from those that are not. Lie to mom? He knows. Didn't eat your vegetables? He knows that too. And as a parent's desperate plea for pristine conduct, it is threatened that Santa will deliver coal instead of the wish-list approved gifts come Christmas.

Omniscience is a confusing concept. While Jesus posses human qualities, He is also part of the all-knowing, omniscient trinity.
All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. - Matthew 11:27, NIV
He understands our every thought, has an accurate plan of our future, and His knowledge exceeds the good or bad actions that have already occurred. He knows

Doing the Impossible 

Soot stains cover the white, fluffy beard of the man who squeezes his chubby body through a chimney. Shimmying down a chimney is not the sole impossibility Santa Claus undertakes. For houses that lack his conventional path, he silently sneaks in-and-out the back door. Children are led to believe that he travels the entire globe in a 12 hour span on Christmas Eve, delivering extra holiday joy to all of the families with kids. It is unconceivable, yet he makes it happen.

Sorry Santa, but more significant phenomenas are attributed to Jesus. There are accounts of healings, rising after being considered dead...
"If you can?" said Jesus.  "Everything is possible for one who believes.” - Mark 9:23, NIV
These multiple miracles were 12 months of the year, 7 days of the week...not only December 24-25 for the Christmas holiday.

Judgement and Mercy 

The potential adolescent offenses are vast. Regardless of the empty warnings, rarely do you hear about naughty children actually receiving coal from Santa as their Christmas gifts. Massive temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, and disobeying parents are forgiven with a plethora of presents under the Christmas tree.

Adult or child, Jesus paid the ultimate price for our wrongs. His mercy is unceasing.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. - 1 Peter 1:3, NIV

Santa can add an element of fun into the holiday. Although I was raised in a wonderful Christian home, Santa was included in our Christmas celebrations. My family went the whole nine yards— writing letters for Santa, leaving him milk and cookies, and throwing reindeer food into the yard on Christmas Eve. It really got me thinking about the extent society goes into the silly game that inadvertently distracts from Christ.

When I found out the truth about Santa Claus later in childhood, I was crushed, but I should not have been because that is not what Christmas is about.