As a child, Christmas was always my favorite holiday, not because we celebrated Jesus’ birthday (which we most definitely did), but because Santa was coming, and with him, presents. I just want to be honest: Santa has many of the same qualities as Jesus, plus he’s tangible, comes every year, and gives just the right gift; of course he seems more exciting.
I remember staying up late to listen for Santa and his reindeer on the roof as someone made an imitating sound. I remember my excitement in waking up the next morning to see that Santa had eaten every bit of the cookies and eggnog we left out for him. And, of course, I felt great affirmation that the full stockings and presents meant I had been judged ‘good’ by the one who sees all things.
I didn’t just believe in Santa. My childlike faith caused me to put a great deal of stock into both him, and the ideals he represented.
Then in late elementary school when I was recruited by my parents to be one of “Santa’s elves” and wrap presents, I was heartbroken. I had wanted so much to believe Santa was real and had even defended my position against elementary school rumors. If Santa wasn’t real was the Tooth Fairy? the Easter Bunny? Jesus?
If you’re teaching your children to believe in Jesus, I urge you not to also teach them to believe in Santa without being fully informed of the potential consequences. Certainly having Santa in the home does not necessarily lead to spiritual apostasy (I must say, my parents did a good job raising us to have faith in Jesus and all four of us still love the Lord today)… but do we really want to distract our youth from Jesus Himself?
This article by a Baptist ministry gives a very thorough history of Santa throughout the centuries, while comparing Santa to Jesus and giving verses and commentary to show how dangerous the belief in Santa can be. It is well organized and easy to skim; the history starts in section two: http://www.av1611.org/othpubls/santa.html
This article is a much shorter comparison of the main attributes of Jesus and Santa: http://www.biblebelievers.com/jmelton/SantaClause.html
What do you think? Should Santa be taught in the Christian home?