Last week I started to touch on the Spiritual side of my Anti-Santaism by sharing some of the similarities between Santa and Christ. This week, I’m going to flip it around, and write about their differences. While they are similar in age, appearance, abilities, and what not, they differ greatly in what they teach.
I have a BIG problem with the message that Santa sends to children. While most people would say that Santa stands for joy and his main goal is to bring happiness to children, I see that as teaching children that joy and happiness come from material items. I would guess that 99% of children ask Santa for tangible things, objects that will be used, discarded, and forgotten. The other 1% ask Santa for things that he cannot possibly provide. He can’t bring peace on earth, save a dying loved one, or bring a child the love that they long for.
Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” That tells me that we are supposed to ask God for things, not Santa. The Bible also says in John 14 that we are supposed to ask for things in the name of Jesus (vs 13). Jesus said that if we ask for things in His name, they will be given to us to glorify the Father through Him. However, the Bible doesn't stop there. It tells us in James 4:3 that “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Isn't that what we do with Santa? We ask for things for our own pleasure? Not only is Santa teaching us that joy and happiness is something that can be bought, he is also teaching us to ask with the wrong motives.
The Bible tells us ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35), and that is extremely different than the message that Santa is sending our children. Every year they are encouraged to line up and wait for their turn to tell Santa what they want to receive for Christmas, they write him letters asking for the gifts they are hoping to be given, and all the buzz is about what they want. In return for the plethora of presents, they might leave Santa a plate of cookies, and possibly watch their parents give a few gifts to others. While I know many parents that try to teach the importance of giving, I simply do not see the present day Santa sending that message (I say present day, because I am not referring to the historic Saint Nicholas, more on that in a later post).
To me, Santa teaches selfishness. He teaches us to make lists of the things we desire. Doesn't the Bible tell us to be content with what we have, and not to covet. We shouldn't be teaching our children to covet the things in the store by making lists and telling everyone what they "want".
To move past the presents, Santa is all about magic. The Bible does not convey magic as a good thing. All of the magicians mentioned were bad people (see Exodus 7:11 and Acts 13:6 for a couple examples), and in Acts 19:19 all the Christians who had previously practiced magic burned their magic books. I know this is a small thing to some, but it still holds some weight with me.
The next thing is much bigger to me. Of all of the innocent little songs about Santa, “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Clause,” isn’t so innocent to me. For children who believe that Santa is real, this song teaches that adultery is a cute little fun thing. Adultery is extremely serious, and anyone who has ever had their spouse cheat on them, can tell you just how not funny that song is. And don't even get me started about the fact that it is somehow supposed to be funny that he killed Grandma?!
These are just a few of the ways that their teachings differ, I’m sure that there are more (please let me know if you think of something I missed). But just with these few major differences, I must admit that I was saddened beyond belief last year when someone told me that her mom taught her that God was Santa, so that was what she was teaching her children. In their eyes, God provided the money to buy presents, therefore He was Santa. I have a huge issue with that. If God is something then it should be reversible (please let me know if you disagree).
God is God the Father/God the Father is God
God is Jesus/Jesus is God
God is the Holy Spirit/the Holy Spirit is God
God is Santa/Santa is God?! NOOOO!!!! That's blasphemy! God is triune, not quadruple.
While Satan would love for us to believe that the two are the same, God isn't Santa. God teaches the opposite of Santa. God teaches us to put others before ourselves, and not to want/covet, but to be thankful for what we have. God teaches us that it is better to give than to receive. Santa teaches us to make lists of our desires, and to think almost entirely about ourselves. Is Santa God? Absolutely not.