Lies, Greed, Idolatry and the Deification of Santa
by ServantofJesus, Dec 18, 2017, 5:37:05 PM
Journals / Personal
For most people - especially those who know [or should know] better - "Santa Claus" ("Sanctus Nicolaus"; to which the modern figure of Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, whose name is a dialectal pronunciation of Saint Nicholas; also - interestingly - "Santa" [or santo] in Spanish meaning "holy") is just a fictional character that was popularised particularly by Coca Cola who is extremely loosely based on the historical person of Saint Nicholas, and many see him as just an excuse to try to make sure the kids behave during this time of year. And for all intents and purposes, in the strictest sense that is very true.
Also, before I continue, the name "Father Christmas" is also interesting [and not just in its origins] when one thinks of it from a 'clergyman' point of view, other than it being meant as a personification of Christmas. Interestingly enough, after Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, Nicholas was elected Bishop of Myra. I'm probably stretching the connotations of this, but having him being called "Father Christmas" could also infer to as what Roman Catholic, Orthodoxy and Anglican traditions would use when they call high religious leaders as "Father" (of which Jesus warned us not to call anyone on Earth "Father" [in this context, not the biological one] in Matthew 23:8-9).
Anyway, when you actually look in to what "Santa" is all about, when you actually pay attention to the words of the songs such as "Santa Claus is Coming Tonight", and "Here Comes Santa Claus", you get a person that goes far beyond what Saint Nicholas was ever originally represented about the idea of gift-giving around this time of year.
I suppose you could call this "Santology" - the study of Santa Claus. This is by no means an in-depth study or anything like that, as it goes in to FAR more detail on this site here (though I must note that this site takes this whole thing to the utmost extreme, though I do agree with many of the points on there myself): Santa Claus: The Great Imposter
First of all, I will go into the practical and realist side of things, with what really matters when it comes down to it: lying to children.
Very much like what GospelCenteredMom.com has to say about it, there's a big difference between children having [for example] an imaginary person that they talk to; pretending they're a super hero; or just imagining they're on the moon - and actually believing that the Santa to which all the songs they've been singing about (which I'll come to later), is real.
I will assume - particularly the non-Christians that will come on here and read this - for those who are less discerning of such matters, that you think the idea of Santa is nothing but harmless fun, but a study was done last year that a Belief in Santa could affect parent-child relationships, warns study, to which part of it says this:
The darker reality, the authors suggest, is that lying to children, even about something fun and frivolous, could undermine their trust in their parents and leave them open to “abject disappointment” when they eventually discover that magic is not real.
Kathy McKay, a clinical psychologist at the University of New England, Australia and co-author, said: “The Santa myth is such an involved lie, such a long-lasting one, between parents and children, that if a relationship is vulnerable, this may be the final straw. If parents can lie so convincingly and over such a long time, what else can they lie about?”
For the next part, I shall be borrowing from TheTwoCities.com which has this to say about it, that to think that parents are willingly and actively lying to their children throughout the Christmas season should cause us to be concerned about their integrity and trustworthiness when it comes to more serious subjects such as teaching kids truths about God - obviously applying to Christians of course; non-Christians don't have a true backbone for their reasons to not lie to their children if it suits their needs. That is, without 'borrowing' from the Christian worldview.
And not only that, but it also teaches the children that lying is OK (as long as it's fun, of course).
Another question aught to be brought up on this issue: Why should Santa get all the glory for all the time, money and effort that friends and family have spent in getting everything for their children? To me, this completely shows an utter lack of respect that should be given to those that have made it special – and actually made it possible.
3 other points I'll borrow from that site
He promotes a false, works righteousness, theology
One thing everyone knows about Santa is that he’s always watching. In order to get what you want, Santa has to see you being good. This is anti-gospel! Even if we make a point of clearly explaining the good news to our children, the yearly exercise of behaving in order to receive gifts strengthens our natural bent toward works righteousness. It contradicts the grace-alone through faith-alone message we are striving to instill in our children.
He encourages self-centeredness [my point on the title of Greed]
The other thing everyone knows about Santa is that he’s always asking, “What do you want for Christmas?” We go along with this by helping our kids sift through catalogues, encouraging them to make lists, and taking them on special outings so they can tell Santa what they want. During the holidays we unashamedly encourage our kids to dwell on things rather than Christ. This cultivates an egocentric understanding of Christmas and twists the holiday so it is now all about them and what they want, rather than Christ and what he did.
He tells our kids that they are good
And, of course, our kids ALWAYS get what they want for Christmas, thus instilling in them the understanding that they are (or at least were in December) good. Should we stuff their stocking with coal? No, of course not. But it seems a shame that on the very holiday we celebrate God’s plan to redeem us from sin, we tell our kids they’re not really sinful.
So what this basically boils down to is Idolatry. Santa has been put on a pedistal, and has diverted our attention away from Jesus - the greatest Gift in the history of Creation. Of course you can try to have the two together, but which of these 2 is the most attractive? Which one would the child really want to focus on? A baby in a manger [in the context of this time of year], or a jolly man who you can see in a "Grotto" and ask him for whatever you want.
The next logical point would be on the Deification of Santa:
Have a read at some of these lyrics:
Here comes Santa Claus!. . .
Bells are ringin', children singin',
All is merry and bright.
So hang your stockings and say your prayers,
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight
Jump in bed, cover up your head,
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight
So let's give thanks to the Lord above
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight
He's making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is comin' to town
He sees you when you're sleepin'
He knows when you're a wake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
Does that not sound like god-like qualities to you? That Santa should be one whom you should pray to, because the child thinks he'll be coming and giving you presents? And not only that, but he actually SEES you when you're awake or asleep, or when you've been good or bad! Only God can truly know this.
Sure these may just be lyrics in a song, but do not children learn these lyrics as soon as they're even able to understand what it all means? Is not this the whole part of what Santa makes him Santa? The “theology” of Santa? But let's not forget it's not only in songs, but is indoctrinated into you with films about him, all to get you to believe that he can do the things everyone is telling you he can do.
On a side note, doesn't anyone else think that the idea of a fat man watching your kids all year around is just a little... creepy?
I may as well copy 2 more of her reasons for rejecting Santa, because she can say it better than I can
He reveals that we don’t think Christ is enough
When we add Santa to Christmas, it reveals that we don’t think God, the creator of all things, humbling himself, becoming flesh, living a perfect life among us, dying for our sins, defeating death, and reconciling us with himself, is enough. We add Santa to make Christmas more fun, and more whimsical. In reality, the incarnation is not lacking, it does not need more.
He promotes the idea of mindless faith
All Santa stories include an element of faith. Scripturally speaking, saving faith, involves two aspects. As R W Glenn put it, we have to believe that, and believe in. The former refers to the affirmation of facts. For example, biblical faith requires one to believe that facts like, Jesus was born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, around 2,000 years ago, are true. In the case of Santa, his “facts” are so absurd that one must attach mental blinders in order to believe them. Although the fear of producing Santa-believing grown-ups is not a credible concern, turning out adults with wrong ideas about faith, is. Encouraging our kids to believe falsehoods plants the idea that faith involves checking your brain at the door and feeds the notion that faith can’t be supported by facts and good reasoning. Yes, the Bible states that our faith is in things not seen, but that does not mean it is in things that are not real.
My last point is just how much of a Westernised, first-world person this character is. There are countless millions of people who don't even have access to safe water to drink, or enough food to survive on. Where is Santa in those countries? Thankfully he's no-where to be seen.