Santa Claus or Saint Nick?

Imagine for a moment that ever since you were able to walk, your daddy took you fishing at this huge lake not far from your house. This was a weekly thing. You loved fishing at this lake. As you grew older, this was just the normal part of your week. In your teen years you began to go fishing with your friends at the lake, and eventually, you began to take your own children to experience this weekly tradition with you. Fishing at this lake had become a staple in the life of your family.

Then one day, you walk down to the lake just like you’ve done countless times before, and you run into a sheriff planting signs all around the lake. The sherif informs you that they are trying to preserve a certain species of fish that now lives in the lake. So a new law has just been passed that absolutely no one is allowed to do any fishing in the lake. In fact, the law has made the preservation of this species of fish such a high priority that the penalty for anyone breaking this law is death.

What would you do? Would you be obedient to the law? What would you think of someone who told you….

 “Well I am all for following the law, but this law is just too radical for me to obey. I mean, we’ve always gone fishing at that lake. Thats just too much to expect of me.”

I dont know about you, but I would think that person was crazy! To continue on doing something under penalty of death just because its what you’ve always done is madness!

This brings me to an issue that our family has been wrestling with for some time. Let me start by presenting the scripture that ignited this grudge match within me….

In Revelation 21:8, the Bible mentions that ALL liars will have their part in the lake of fire. The second death. Hell.  We know that doesnt mean if you have ever told a lie, you are destined for Hell. Forgiveness is offered to all sinners at the foot of the cross. All that is asked of us is that we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior and repent of our sinful lifestyle. To repent means to recognize our trespasses against God and his commands, and to turn from them and begin to follow at all costs the Christ.

Next, I want to define what exactly is a lie? Well, a lie is anything we tell someone that is not true. And we can draw the conclusion from Revelation 21 that God deems living an unrepentant lifestyle of lying is damnable. Unrepentant sin is anything that we willingly make a habit of doing. Its a sin that is just normal to us. Eventually, it can become such a normal thing that we dont even view it as sin anymore.

So now that Ive set the stage, here is my question to you. What do we do with Santa Claus during the Christmas season? Is he an acceptable tradition? Or are we blatantly lying to our children?

If there is anything that is a staple in our culture, it is the telling of the legend of Saint Nick. Saint Nick was a real life person who lived in the ancient days in the time of Constantine. Stories vary about Saint Nick. One pretty steady constant is that he was a very giving man, and a Christian at that. He would give gifts to those who had nothing. There are some reports that has even said that Saint Nick was a Bishop and a proclaimer of the Gospel and was persecuted by the Roman empire.

The legend of this man obviously grew throughout the centuries. It went from the telling of a man that was indeed a saint who gave to the less fortunate all the way to today where he is portrayed as a jolly fat man in a red suit who is basically God.

You read that last statement right. Our society today has twisted the true story of a good man named Saint Nick into the deceptive lie of a God man named Santa Claus.

*He’s Omniscient He’s sees and knows everything you do.

*He rewards you if you are good.

*He’s omnipresent He can be everywhere and see everything at once

*He is good and righteous

*He is the most famous “Old Man in the Sky” figure.

*He has record of all of the good boys and girls in a book…or a list.

Sounds alot like the God of scripture. Could the fabricated story of Santa Claus actually be a deception planted in the minds of men by Satan? The devil’s plan is to rob God of any and all Glory at any cost. Satan’s plan is to take our eyes of the savior and place them on false idols that promise the supernatural miracles of our God, only without any repentance required. What better way to accomplish this plan than by beginning the deception early on in the lives of children.

Noel Piper, wife to Pastor John Piper, wrote an article on this very subject and addressed how Santa is not God. Here is what she said……

“For example, does Santa really care if we’re bad or good? Think of the most awful kid you can remember. Did he or she ever not get gifts from Santa?

What about Santa’s spying and then rewarding you if you’re good enough? That’s not the way God operates. He gave us his gift—his Son—even though we weren’t good at all. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He gave his gift to us to make us good, not because we had proved ourselves good enough.

Helping our children understand God as much as they’re able at whatever age they are is our primary goal. But we’ve also seen some other encouraging effects of not including Santa in our celebration.

First, I think children are glad to realize that their parents, who live with them all year and know all the worst things about them, still show their love at Christmas. Isn’t that more significant than a funny, old, make-believe man who drops in just once a year?

Second, I think most children know their family’s usual giving patterns for birthday and special events. They tend to have an instinct about their family’s typical spending levels and abilities. Knowing that their Christmas gifts come from the people they love, rather than from a bottomless sack, can help diminish the “I-want-this, give-me-that” syndrome.

And finally, when children know that God’s generosity is reflected by God’s people, it tends to encourage a sense of responsibility about helping make Christmas good for others.” -Noel Piper.

Just because something has been ingrained in our culture as tradition doesnt make it right. Yes, forsaking the legend of Santa Claus does seem radical to the outside world. But we have to ask ourselves just what is at stake!  I am not saying do away with Christmas by any means. Im saying lets do Christmas in a way that is glorifying to God! Lets have a Christmas not driven by media and popular culture and replace it with one steered by the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We wonder at times why some kids today seem to be more selfish and self centered in their thinking. Maybe the questions should be, “What is the example we have been setting before them?” Are we unconsciously conditioning our children to have a mind set that is contrary to the Gospel?

I believe researching and telling the true story of the Christ follower Saint Nick who lived to serve others, like Jesus, would have a greater impact on our families than that of an over weight magic man who was there to meet our selfish wishes like a genie in a bottle. The example that Jesus gave was never to ask for things for yourself. Rather it was to be a servant to others. It was to see that there is much more joy in giving rather than receiving. Lets keep Santa in Christmas, but only to play a supporting role. And lets use his story so that it points towards the teachings and example of Jesus Christ our redeemer.

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