I promised I would deal with that “S” word that happens every year about this time. After all I DO write a “seasonal” blog and it is the season when people begin to talk about Santa Clause.
Do you believe in Santa?
Macy’s says he is real. You have to give them credit for making such an awesome movie to prove that point. Can’t help but love the movie; whether it is full of truth or not; for many it has become a novel, traditional thing to watch the movie called Miracle on 34th Street. Great acting. Lovely, sweet, fictional tale that is well presented. Also; I’m a writer and I love fairy tales. Though none of them are true; there is always an element of truth somewhere that is teachable in the story.
I’m sure that movie not only increased “good-will” toward the idea of Santa Clause; but it must have helped a lot of retailers become very, very profitable over the years; which might not have happened otherwise.
I’m not against profit.
I’m not against sweet stories and fairy tales.
But when it comes to the honesty test – how do you feel about Santa Clause?
I have friends on all sides of this spectrum; so I’m sure I’m going to lose some of you with this post.
What do you tell your kids about Santa Clause?
I have friends who relate Santa directly to Satan. They go past the point of saying he is pagan and go straight to saying he is an extremely wicked pagan. I have to admit that in some cases; the disguise of Santa has been used for perversions; and in some cases his legend has promoted all kinds of pagan practices. I’m also very careful to say “in SOME cases” given the way that human nature works.
Since the days of the garden of Eden and Adam and Eve; every good thing has had a perversion. The question here is not whether or not we learn to avoid absolutely EVERYTHING (because pagans HAVE used everything that we all use in day-to-day life at some point) or whether or not we are able to distinguish good from evil and act accordingly.
So is the question “Is Santa evil” or “Are all Santa’s evil”?
Tough decision isn’t it. Nothing is ever as easy as it first appears.
Most people jump to one quick conclusion and stand by it regardless.
Satan and his demons have been very busy making sure this “Santa deception” happens for evil and not for good. Perverting good, normal, fun things is a very successful technique that the devil and his demons have always used to convince people that EVERYTHING is bad. This is the technique that they will often use to successfully turn people against Christianity all together. Many lost souls will tell you they lost their faith over one bad experience when someone in a church was sinning instead of practicing their faith. One sinner becomes the reference for a whole church full of saints. People have a tendency to throw the baby out with the bath water. They don’t look at the person and say “they have sinned.” They look at the organization and say “it is not godly and I’ll not have a part of this!”
There is an old saying that goes “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” For most of the traditions related to Christmas and other holidays we celebrate; this holds true. Nothing can be done in innocence and fun anymore; everything has to be analyzed to the tenth degree and torn apart and then thrown to the dogs; because not one thing on this earth is flawless.
Such is the legend of Santa Clause.
It has a million flaws that prevent it from being one of the world’s most loved activities. Most living in complete ignorance of the subject either love it or hate it.
Let’s look at the bad first.
What could possibly be bad about a jolly old man in a red suit giving out wishes to children?
Some people say that all Santa’s are drunks, perverts and pedophiles. They would not take their children to the mall for a million dollars to have them sit in the lap of a total stranger that calls himself Santa where they will spill their hearts desire out and expect great things to come to them from doing so.
I have to question the legitimacy of most of this. If Santa is a drunk, worthless pedophile that was found wandering the streets and hired by the local department stores to lure your children into their lairs of profitability; then why are most parents allowed to look on, participate and watch while their child goes up to speak to the old guy? Wouldn’t these careful parents notice if something was amiss? Have they not instructed their children to scream and speak up quickly if someone touches them in the wrong way? What child do you know that would not scream bloody murder if such a thing happened right in the public malls; and then all of that profitability would go right out the window in a big hurry.
Not only would people be disturbed greatly and leave the shopping mall; they would lose the ability to make your heart melt with those adorable photos of your happy, smiling child. Nope – a wrong pick for a Santa figure would be disastrous to the local stores. It would be very foolish to not hire the most outstanding citizens to play the role with honor, and continue the climb into total consumerism for your child’s formative years.
All it would take would be ONE little complaint against these people whom I bet have to be very carefully screened in order to do the job. The stores would not survive otherwise. So that kind of solves the problem of talking to Santa in public. I doubt you have to worry too much about what happens when your darling little child talks to Santa, however; you are still stuck with that fact that you, and that department store Santa guy ARE being deceptive in your activities around Christmas.
That is the part that really gets me; it is much more logical to worry about this than to worry about what some harmless old grandpa is going to do to your child in the middle of a public mall with 10,000 people looking on to see your little darling smile. The fact remains that Santa is a big fat lie; and haven’t you taught your children NOT to lie? Isn’t that one of the ten commandments?
When you tell Johnny about Jesus in one breath and then turn around and tell him the story of Santa Clause; aren’t you teaching him that Jesus may be a fairy tale too? That would be worse than having him not believe in Santa! That would be terrible.
Should we lie to our kids about Santa? What makes this ONE situation okay? Come on now; would you let your kids get away with just ONE little white lie every year like that?
No; you know you wouldn’t; but millions of adults do this every year at Christmas.
We all have different situations and circumstances to deal with; and I will admit that many of them are hard enough to put you between a rock and a hard place when you make this decision. For years and years I went to the extreme and didn’t even observe Christmas because I thought the WHOLE thing was just one big deception after another and very sacrilegious. I learned the truth; that the Catholic church changed the dates long, long ago and that the Emperor Constantine used religion to unite his empire. I learned that many pagan practices at that point and many points later in different ways became part of the Christmas traditions. I thought that was all bad enough; then I learned that Jesus was born in the fall instead of December 25th and that was the known birth date for many pagan gods. It all disgusted me; and I was more than a little bit angry at my parents and the rest of the world not only for deceiving me about the truth about Santa; but mostly the fact that they deceived me about the truth about Jesus!
Later I married a man who had four children. The kids were all under 10 years of age and they all came to live with us. Basically, my husband and I raised them with their mother getting regular visitations. She and all their grandparents were BIG Santa lovers. I didn’t stand a chance to tell them the truth and do it my way. For the kids to live in peace under our roof and not become totally confused with the chaos of two belief systems; I let them have their familiar traditions; but at the same time; I tried to silently live out what I believed before them; hoping that God would help them catch the truth somehow, some way; and I vowed to explain things better when they were old enough to understand (and I eventually did this with great success.)
My husband had a beard; so I didn’t really have to lie to them. I never had to take them to the malls; everyone else quickly and gladly did that little task for me. I didn’t have to watch and listen when they visited with him because I always knew, even without hearing them tell Santa, what their hearts desires were for Christmas presents. The presents were always bought and put under the tree on Christmas morning. When they asked me if I saw who delivered the gifts I would tell them I saw a man with a beard put the things under the tree. Nothing was ever a lie. My husband had a beard.
Years went by with the kids trying to figure our exactly what I believed. Then one day I discovered something wonderful. I discovered that the CONCEPTION of Christ happened probably on or near December 25th. Think about it – if Christ was born in the fall of the year, and you count back nine months to His conception – then He would have been conceived on or about December. I could then feel quite free to sing those lovely carols I always loved and start quoting those passages from Luke in the bible again in December; and once again, knowing that Our Savior DID come to us in December I could celebrate what people are always saying is true; the REAL reason for the season! My celebration was always about Emmanuel; Christ with us! The kids caught this. They knew and they quickly joined in with the real celebration of the truth.
I can’t tell you how happy this made my heart. My little world seemed to come together again. But, there was still that lie about Santa to deal with. I had to do a lot of homework. God had been winking behind the scenes all the time about the date of Christ’s birth – knowing that Satan didn’t even realize his conception happened on the date he tried to trick the world with. God played a joke on us; just like I played a joke on the kids when I told them that a man with a beard delivered those packages that they received on Christmas morning.
Then I went to work for a Catholic TV studio. It was there that I learned about Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a REAL man. I searched and searched and found all the history I could about him. The story goes like this:
He was born to very wealthy Christian parents during the third century in the village of Patara. His parents became ill from an epidemic in the land and died when he was very young. He devoutly determined to obey the commandment of Jesus to the wealthy young ruler who asked what he needed to do to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Jesus told him to “sell what you own and give your money to the poor.” Nicholas determined to do this with his vast inheritance; and he spent his life-giving his money away to assist the sick, the needy and the poor and suffering. His whole life was dedicated to the service of God.
Eventually, though still a young man, Nicholas was made Bishop of Myra. He was known for his generosity, his love for children and the poor and his concern for sailors and their ships.
Diocletian was a Roman emperor who cruelly persecuted Christians. He exiled and imprisoned Bishop Nicholas. At that time the prisons were so full of bishops, priests, pastors and deacons that there was no room for the murderers, thieves and evil doers.
When Nicholas got out of prison he attended the Council of Nicea in AD 325.
Nicholas died in AD 343. Many people still keep St. Nicholas day on December 6th, which is the anniversary of his death.
Over the years many legends and stories have been told about this man’s life.
One story is told about a poor man who had three daughters with no dowry, which was required in those days for them to be able to marry. Without a dowry, poor girls that never married were sold into slavery or worse in order to survive. Yet; mysteriously three bags of gold appeared in the homes of these young girls; providing the dowry that each needed in order to marry well and live a happy life. It is said that the bags of gold were tossed through a window and they landed in the shoes and stockings of the girls that were sitting by the fire-place in order to dry from use in the cold winter’s snow.
There is another story about the people of Myra celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas during the time that he still lived. A band of pirates came to the church in the village and stole its vast treasures, collected and offered over the years. They snatched a young boy to make into their slave. Their ruler took the young boy and made him his cup-bearer; where he brought wine in a golden cup to him each day. The young boy did not know the language of the pirates; and he was forced to serve their king. The boy’s name was Basilios; and his parents grieved and grieved at their loss of his presence in their lives.
The next year when the feast of St. Nicholas came around, Basilios’s mother only saw it as a time of tragedy. She determined not to celebrate but to pray quietly at home for her lost son. That same day as Basilios was fulfilling his duties as a cup-bearer to the evil king of the pirates of Crete; he was suddenly whisked away. St. Nicholas had rescued the boy, after which he blessed him and returned him to his parents who were overjoyed. Basilios was taken away with the golden cup still in his hands; which his parents returned to the church treasury and restored it to its original use.
There are so many more stories and legends about St. Nicholas and how giving he was and how he protected children and sailors of the sea I cannot go into them here. Who knows how many are true or how many are simply legends that have accumulated over the years.
However; the name of Santa Claus originally came from this story of St. Nicholas; who was not a lie; but a real man and a good and godly man who set Christian examples for others to follow. His whole life was centered on the words of Jesus and he chose to live them out as best he could.
Over the years; like everything else; the whole story has been perverted, given pagan meanings, changed, rearranged, etc. Like I said before; it all goes all the way back to the garden. Who are you going to pay attention to when you explain this to your children? Will you listen to the perversions of the devil and his demons; or will you give them the real inspirational story?
As for me; that is what I chose to do. I never tell kids that the department store Santa’s are the real guy. I give them the story of the real St. Nicholas and tell them that the people today are simply honoring his story; and that is why we do the same.
I make sure that my house is focused on the fact that Christ was conceived at Christmas and born in the fall at The Feast of Tabernacles. St. Nicholas is definitely not our focus. He was simply a good man who taught honorable things to many people and left the world a better place because he believed and honored the conception, birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ too.
I chose to honor the good examples that have been set into human history; and ignore what the devil and his demons have perverted.
Everything isn’t bad or pagan, if you study the true facts; and much of everything has some teaching element of the good of God’s kingdom. You must search these things out; they are not always easy to find; but these facts about St. Nicholas have been documented in the annals of history because of the fact that he was a well-known and respected Bishop that lived very long ago.
Ah; Christmas, the season where real truth seekers must spend so much time chewing up the meat and spitting out the bones.
God bless you every one; and may you find the giving spirit of St. Nicholas within your hearts this year.