Monday, December 22, 2008

Why Jesus is better than Santa

Some Christians seem to be staunchly anti-Santa. They think that any mention of Santa Claus in any situation is an attack on "The True Meaning of Christmas." These morons take the anti-Santa theme to a new low. Seriously guys, get help. Do you really believe that your vitriol points anyone to Jesus?

Personally, I don't mind Santa. After all, he is based on the real-life Christian, Saint Nicholas. Not a lot is known about him, but during the fierce persecution of Christians under Roman emperor Diocletian, his acts of generosity demonstrated Christian love and the spirit of Christmas, epitomized by God giving His only Son for us.

So I am not anti-Santa. I just recognize that Jesus is better than Santa. Here are a few reasons.

Santa may represent what Christmas is about, in his original form, but that meaning has mostly been lost in the current incarnation of Santa Claus, the fat jolly elf who drives a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Jesus, on the other hand, is what Christmas is all about. If Santa points to Jesus, than surely Jesus is greater than Santa. Nicholas' inspiration and motivation was all from Jesus, and any good Nicholas had was not from himself, but from Christ dwelling in him.

Christmas is named for Jesus Christ, not for Santa. Santa acts in honor of Christ's birth, not the other way around.

Santa's gift-giving is conditional. If you don't make the "Nice List" you get a lump of coal. Jesus gift of salvation is bought and paid for with no conditions. It is freely given to anyone who will take it. In I Timothy 1:15 Paul wrote: "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." You don't have to be on the "Nice List" to be saved. Paul was not exagerating when he called himself the worst of sinners. Before he met Jesus, he arrested, imprisioned, and beat Christians and even oversaw their murder. It is very good news that we don't have to earn God's approval because none of us stand a chance of meeting His standard.

Santa hangs around at the North Pole most of the time, and travels around by sleigh propelled by flying caribou. Jesus is all-present and dwells in the hearts of those who allow him to enter. You don't have to go to the mall in December to talk to Jesus or make your requests known to Him. You can talk to Him any time, anywhere, about anything, and He promises to hear and answer.

Santa brings stuff which will ultimately wear out, break, or get lost. When we die, none of it will do us any good. But Jesus gave us an eternal gift which will never decay or wear out: everlasting life in a restored relationship with God. Anything Santa could give we could buy for ourselves with money, but money could never pay the penalty for my sins. God's Word is very clear that only blood can atone for sins. Santa didn't give his blood to redeem me. Only Jesus could do that, and only Jesus loved me enough to do it.

Saint Nicholas died 1700 years ago. What is left of his body is buried in Bari, Italy. Jesus, on the other hand, is alive and seated at the right hand of God where He intercedes on our behalf. After Jesus resurrection, the Jews or the Romans could have put to rest the testimony of the disciples who saw Jesus simply by producing his body. But they could not do it because He is alive. Neither the historical Nicholas or the mythical Santa has anything on that.

Finally, Jesus is superior to Santa because Jesus is God and Santa is not. Nicholas himself made that point when the father of the three girls whose dowry Nicholas secretly paid for discovered the source of the gifts, Nicholas asked for him to keep his identity secret because, Nicholas explained, "It is not I you should thank, but Christ alone."


The Donald said...

I agree. Nothing at all wrong with Santa - he's a fun guy!

Certainly Santa is a cherished Christmas tradition, and he's always been part of the celebration in my house. There are several depictions of the jolly old elf among my Christmas decorations.

I draw the line when marketers attach decidedly anti-Christian values to him. In those cases, though, it's the marketers, and not Santa, I take issue with.

David H said...

Good post Don. Santa was part of my youth as well as for my own children... once a year. However, Jesus is with my children all year round. I agree we can talk to him anytime, I think the hardest part is quieting our minds enough to listen back.

Don Dodson said...

And then there is the fact that Jesus never had a tendency to go on shooting rampages.