Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Does Santa Have to Do with Jesus?

Imagine my surprise when my toddler asked me, "Momma, what does Santa have to do with Jesus?"  Though I wished I had a canned answer in my bag of mommy wisdom, this one made me think.  What does Santa have to do with Jesus?

I think Santa is one way of expressing Christmas.  I think Santa is fun.  Santa represents many wonderful and happy things, and yes, there is a way to see Santa as cynical and promoting materialistic consumerism.  However, I choose to see Santa as someone who desires to bring joy to children of all ages.  Santa is a character that brings magic.  Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and had a character come to life and inspire you?  I mean, bring a sincere smile to your face and be the vehicle of dreams?  Have you ever been somewhere magical?  I'm not talking voodoo magic, just pixie dust and mouse ears magic...have you been to Disney World?  I can remember being a kid and walking the streets of a Disney park full of enthusiasm and magic.  What about that first bike you ever learned how to ride without training wheels?  That feeling you had the first time you could read, or drive, or play an instrument on your own?  What about how you feel when you see the sparkle of Christmas lights?

I think Santa, like Jesus, can be twisted to fit any bill of anyone trying to sell you a particular viewpoint.  Lots of people don't believe in Jesus either, you know.  I choose to believe in Christmas dreams, Christmas magic, Christmas hope, Christmas impossibilities.  Maybe Santa is not really real, but maybe it's the spirit of Santa's giving that is real.  Maybe it's the spirit that Santa, in theory, gives to every girl and boy with not one hesitation based on race, class, nationality...or religion.  Who said Santa was just Christian?  Maybe it's the spirit of Santa's heart, the idea that there is this character who truly loves each and everyone of us, this character who wants to give to everyone, this character that seeks out the poor, the orphaned, the hungry.

To me Santa is a great character.  I've told my son about Santa.  Maybe that makes me a bad mom to some, but I think I turned out all right and I believed in Santa.  At the same time, my son believes in Mickey Mouse and he's at the age where he thinks every character in his books and on TV are really real.  At some point he'll discover that maybe the character is real only in it's character, but that the stories are real, the moral lessons are real and the spirit of Christmas is real.

I also make a very clear point to teach Ham about Jesus.  I do believe that Jesus is the ultimate reason for the season.  Maybe Jesus wasn't born on the 25th of December and maybe he was actually born in late spring, early summer.  Does that matter?  Can we only celebrate the birth of our Savior on a specific day?  I personally think we should recognize Christ's birth, death and resurrection every day, in how we live, how we act and how we play.  It is just a special tradition in my culture, to celebrate Christmas with winter and solstice, amidst Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Ramadan, in giving and in receiving...in loving our neighbors and being a part of something much bigger than ourselves, with Rudolph and Frosty...with Santa and Jesus.

Maybe the best part of celebrating the birth of Jesus along side other cultural and traditional holiday fare, is that no matter what gifts we receive, there will never be a gift greater than the gift of Jesus.  The Wii Fit is awesome, the necklace beautiful, the clothes special...but Jesus out weighs them all.  Jesus is the reminder that God loved us so much that we were given the gift of God's only son so that we may live with God forever.  Ours is a story that has no end.

So yes, Ham, there is a Santa.  But as fun and big and jolly and loving and giving as Santa is, can you imagine that there is actually a man named Jesus who was real, not just in a book, who came to live among us, suffer with and for us, to love us and give to us the greatest gift of all?  Just like Santa, Jesus was a giver too, in a much bigger way.  Jesus wants us to receive the gift of his love and to give it back by giving it to others.  All these wonderful things Santa does, who do you think taught him?  Maybe he learned from the best giver of all, Jesus?

Call me silly, or impractical, but I think Jesus might have liked this Santa guy, this character in a book who helped to inspire children to give to others.  I think its our job as parents to nurture our children and point them in the right direction, showing them that Christmas really has nothing to do with the amount of presents under the tree.  Christmas is about the gift that came for us and died on the tree.
  Christmas is about the gift that Jesus gave to you and me.
Do You Believe?

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh.
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year.
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies.
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa.
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO.
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry."
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you..."

Santa's little helpers make toys.
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree.
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

Taken from http://www.share-christmas.com/poems/santa_jesus/

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Joye @ The Joyeful Journey said...

That is such a great poem to share!! I love it!

Toni said...

What wonderful words! I'd like to feature your blog on my blog, what do ya think?? :)

You dont need to do anything different, unless you want to, but I'd really like to write up a little blurb about your site, post your button on my page and let others know about you. :)

Heather Nicole said...

I really love this post - I think of Santa as a disciple of Jesus helping to spread the word of Jesus Christ through Christmas spirit.

Kari at MamaBloo said...

GREAT! We must have been on the same wave-length this Christmas. I get so tired of my Christian friends dissing on Santa. I will send them to your blog for further thoughts to think!

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