Santa Is Not Satan

image courtesy of anderspace via flickr
Yesterday, I spoke with a fellow dad in our church, about the issue of Santa Claus.  They are trying to figure out how they need to handle their son's questions.  But in talking with him, I was reminded that we all approach topics like this from our own backgrounds and experiences.  For him, there is a lot of history.  When he was 5 years old, his family started attending an very fundamentalist church, which sternly taught that believing in Santa (and telling kids to do so) was equivalent to worshiping Satan.  In fact, this church made numerous (and dubious) connections between Santa and Satan, including:
  • Both are red.
  • The letters in SANTA can be rearranged to SATAN.
  • Both distract from the real reason for Christmas (the birth of the Savior).
  • The name "Claus" sounds like "Claws," which Satan has and uses to hurt people.

Of course, when he and I talked, all I could think of was The Church Lady.  For this friend, to insist (especially to children) that Santa isn't real brings back to mind a ton of baggage and wounds from his childhood.  Fortunately for me, I grew up Jewish, so I mostly have had a blank slate with regards to my own perspectives about Santa.  Then again, one friend suggested (tongue-in-cheek, perhaps) that the reason I am against Santa is because I am scarred by never getting gifts from him as a child. 

In this post, I explained what we do with Santa Claus, and why.  But we have lots of friends whose kids do believe in Santa, and in talking with some of them recently, I can totally understand where they are coming from.  And I do love to see how our kids eagerly anticipate the Christmas season -- to celebrate the birth of Jesus, to deocrate our house inside and out, to give gifts, and even to pretend about Santa, elves, Frosty, Rudolph, and more.

So here's what we are going to do:  I have asked my good friends Ryan & Molly Burns to share how and why they have led their children to believe in Santa.  They are some of the best parents I know, being intentional in this and so many other areas of discipleship.  They've answered a series of questions that I asked them, which we will split up into two posts to be published later this week. 

In the meantime, you may enjoy this article from Mark Driscoll, published in the Washington Post.  When it comes to Santa, he writes, we can reject, receive, or redeem him.  "We tell them the truth and encourage them to have fun watching Christmas shows on television and even sitting on Santa's lap for a holiday photo if they so desire."

Whatever perspective you come from, you won't want to miss the posts later this week, called "Being a Santa Family."

Here's a question for you:  when you were growing up, did you believe that Santa Claus was real?

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  1. yes.
    and i never felt slighted or lied to when i came to know the truth about santa.

    in fact, i discovered the truth about santa on my own which was a confidence builder. (when i put together that "made in taiwan" or "made in china" (seen on gifts allegedly from santa) didn't mesh with the "made in the north pole" stories we were led to believe.

    i was told and believed The Truth growing up and while i also believed for a short time that santa existed, i do not recall ever thinking of santa as a stand-in for Christ. nor did i ever equate or relate the truth about santa with a belief that Jesus was also make believe.

    santa was just another cool guy/gal out there - like the easter bunny and tooth fairy - that did stuff for other people out of love and goodwill. his existence (or "existence") didn't make Jesus's any less important or real.

  2. Yes, and yet I never noticed that the year my dad married my step mom that the letters from Santa went from being in ALL CAPS to an elegant cursive or questioned how Santa made 3 stops JUST for me at my mom's house, dad's house and grandpa's house... LOL! Duped!

  3. Thanks, friends for sharing. I love the parts about all the clues that should help us figure it out -- "made in china," letter formats, etc.

  4. I'm really enjoying your blog. Great posts. Can't wait for the Santa Family post and read another perspective than I've heard before. Looking forward to it...

  5. Yes i guess we did have similar post ideas. Great minds think alike!