Friday, December 2, 2011

My Anti-Santaism: Distraction

This is the seventh post in my Anti-Santaism series. I will be adding a post every Friday between now and Christmas, you can read the introduction post here.

No Santa

Last week, I wrote about the two masters of Christmas, and I want to continue on with that train of thought. You see, one of the biggest things that bothers me about Santa is just the distraction that he poses. If you choose to celebrate Christmas as the time of Christ’s birth, then all Santa does is take away from that focus.

Every year at this time you hear Christians saying that we need to keep Christ in Christmas, but I believe that you can try to keep Christ in Christmas all you want, but unless Christmas is about Christ, than it really isn't His birth we're celebrating. Keeping Christ in Christmas, how would you feel if your family celebrated your birthday without you? Yeah, they decided to keep you in it by singing happy birthday to you, but it really wasn’t about you at all? Here is a video that illustrates that point:

This video really makes me think about our Christmas celebration. However, if you were to add a big clown in there that everyone was surrounding, and celebrating, it would really just make it that much worse. If you took the focus off of Mark, and put it onto the clown, but still remembered to keep Mark’s name involved, I think that would describe what Christmas looks like in a lot of homes. I’m not saying that to judge anyone. After all, I grew up in one of those homes. I just think it’s a great mental picture to help us see things from a different point of view.

It might be even more fitting to imagine Mark as a military man who is overseas fighting for our country. He isn’t getting shoved aside, but neither is anyone speaking to the video camera with a special message just for him. No one seems to really care about him, it’s just a great reason to come together. When he gets that video tape and sits down to watch it, he isn’t going to feel an overwhelming sense of love for him. He will be glad that his family got to come together, but with no one even recognizing him personally, it won’t feel like it was really about him.

Christmas when focused on Santa, isn't the celebration of Christ's birth, it is all about the presents that Santa brings, the looking forward to his coming, and something about a baby. Even for those few families that somehow manage to keep Christ at the center, but still include Santa, I don't see how that adds to Christ's birth. The only thing Santa can do is take away our attention from our Lord and Savior. Time that could be spent learning about the birth of Christ, is instead spent on writing letters to a man who either doesn't exist or is dead (depending on how you see it). Time that could be spent singing praises to our God and Father, is spent singing about a jolly fat man (as my husband calls him) and his reindeer. Time that could be spent looking forward to the return of Jesus someday, is spent in anticipation of parents lying to their children about someone breaking into their house and leaving them presents.

Yes, our kids get presents on Christmas morning, but they are pretty much all out when they go to bed that night. They can look forward to opening them, but they don't lose sleep in anticipation of animals on the roof. What we think about the night of Christmas is that somewhere many, many years ago a baby came into this world as a gift to us. It might not (or was not) on this particular night, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that He came for us.

Do I think that adding the Santa distraction to our holiday would be a bad thing? With every fiber of my being. If it doesn't add to our faith in Christ, what is the point? Fun? We have tons of that. Magic? The Bible says that God abhors magic. Innocence? Where is the innocence in lying? The only thing I can conclude is that Santa takes our focus off of Christ. I can't think of a single thing he could possibly add. Santa, in my eyes, is a huge distraction for Christians who choose to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas.


  1. Perhaps you are correct and the best thing to do is to move Christs birthday to a day closer to when it would have actually been instead of adding the distraction on a perfectly pre-established Pagaen harvest holiday, taking away from what the day originally meant. But if we do that we would have to do that with almost all of the christian holidays, and that would just distract and confuse everyone even more. I agree that the commercialism of Christmas has gotten out of hand, albeit still much better than the pre-santa Christmas of the 1800's which was much more similar to todays St. Patricks day, poor St. Patrick...but we'll save that for another time. At least the thought of modern day Santa has brought families away from that, and made them think of sharing and giving. Spending time together out of their sometimes too busy lives, and hope,even just for a day, for better times where caring and giving are common place. Santa doesnt replace or take away from Jesus, better yet he draws people who may not even be christian to celebrate and come closer, as Christ would want for us. And even if its a passing thought for those non believers about the true meaning of Christmas, then Santa did his job, just as the churches hoped by placing Jesus' birthday on a Pagaen day would draw people to the church. Thanks St. Nick.

  2. You might find this link interesting:

  3. Give a BIG "thank you" to Constantine, right?? Ha! Never!!! Constantine changed so many things with Christian holidays and unfortunately Christmas and Easter have pretty much become the marketing items of the year. I'm so GLAD they can't market Thanksgiving because even in the dictionary it states "a time to give God thanks" - amazing!!! I truly do believe you can't celebrate both, Santa and Jesus. I believe in having your kids write letters to Jesus - why not? Isn't it in a Christian home to pray to God and ask for whatever you want and it will be given to you? SO why not stress this with your kids!!! Start it out now, asking from God, not a fictional character the world has made. I believe in telling the real story of Saint Nicholas as well, has very good Christian points in it about giving, being selfless, and helping others - kind of the point in this time of year and ALL year! :) I think at some point, we as Christian parents, need to stand on Deuteronomy 6 and start teaching our kids the REAL traditions of Christianity to pass it on from generation to generation - God's Word does not come back void and God's Word is NOT boring. It is still very much alive! ;)

  4. Congratulations, Heather! YOU are the new winner of "Given To Hospitality" by Judy Lewis! Please send your address to me at within 48 hours and I will get your winnings right out to you. Thanks for entering my giveaway and, again, congratulations!

  5. The Philocalian calendar of 354 AD gives a festival of "Natalis Invicti" on 25 December. There is limited evidence that this festival was celebrated before the mid 4th century AD.
    Whether the 'Sol Invictus' festival "has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date" of Christmas (as per the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia) or not has been called into question by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who challenged this theory by arguing that a December 25 date was determined simply by calculating nine months beyond March 25, regarded as the day of Jesus’ conception (the Feast of the Annunciation).
    In the 5th century, Pope Leo I (the Great) spoke of how the celebration of Christ's birth coincided with the sun's position increasing in the sky in several sermons on the Feast of the Nativity. Here is an excerpt from his 26th sermon:
    But this Nativity which is to be adored in heaven and on earth is suggested to us by no day more than this when, with the early light still shedding its rays on nature, there is borne in upon our senses the brightness of this wondrous mystery.

    According to the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia, a standard library reference, in an article on Constantine the Great:
    "Besides, the Sol Invictus had been adopted by the Christians in a Christian sense, as demonstrated in the Christ as Apollo-Helios in a mausoleum (c. 250) discovered beneath St. Peter's in the Vatican." Indeed "...from the beginning of the 3rd century "Sun of Justice" appears as a title of Christ".[43]
    Some consider this to be in opposition to Sol Invictus. Some see an allusion to Malachi 4:2.

    The Syriac bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi wrote in the 12th century:
    "It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day

  6. Although I found your link to that hypothesis rather amusing, it is a bit off topic don't you think?
    "What we think about the night of Christmas is that somewhere many, many years ago a baby came into this world as a gift to us. It might not (or was not) on this particular night, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that He came for us." as quoted by you. The fact remains that Santa Claus and what he stands for, as a fictional character,is all the good attributes that the Lord asks us to embrace toward each other. Just as God gave us a Jesus as his gift,and the Magi brought thier gifts to Jesus...we too now come together and give gifts to each other. So I will say again, if the practice of santa claus by non christians opens the door to some christian beliefs, then take that opportunity open someones heart to God.

  7. Matthew 7:1-29
    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. ...

    Romans 14:13-15:13
    Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ...
    Mark 16:15-18
    And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
    Corinthians 11:1-2
    Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.
    Isn't this what the idea of santa is?

    Timothy 1:3-11
    does the idea of santa promote speculation or stewardship?

    The commercialism of Christmas is abhorrent and consumerism has risen to the destruction of the holiday. But the meaning and the message that Ol' St. Nick is delivering is a invitation for you to teach about Gods word. One must consider how God would want us to use this favorable circumstance, and whether or not he himself created it, we must know he foresaw it. And as I've said earlier used this to draw people closer to the Holy Spirit in this season of giving. All things that the story of santa teaches us to do as he too is a servant of the Lord.

  8. Nick, you obviously firmly believe this and if so, then that is between you and God. Just as the way Heather believes is between her and God. We are taught to work out our salvation with fear and trembling and to study to shew ourselves approved. It's awesome that we live in a place where we can share these things and try to work together to a deeper understanding of the Word through the Holy Spirit. God has blessed us in this. At the end of the day, however, it comes down to what we believe the Bible--and therefore, God--is saying to us and what to do to be obedient. Not all of us at the same point in our walks. We gain insight by viewing the world through the lens of Scripture (and we all have to be careful not to view Scripture through the lens of the world). You sound like you have a heart for people and for sharing God's word with them and I pray that God will open the doors for you to do just that. But if Heather (or anyone else) feels convicted about Santa and strongly believe the conviction comes from God then we cannot stand in the way or we become a stumbling block in their walk with God.