Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's the big deal about Christmas? (part 3)

By now, if you've been following, you'll see that I'm right smack in the middle of my week of Christmas posts. I hope that they have been informative and encouraging for you. Ok, here we go...

Santa Clause...

I'm sure you don't have to think very far to find someone you know, or have heard of that is against Santa. Like the Dana Carvey sketch of the 'Church Lady' drawing the parallel spellings of Santa and Satan, I think there are many people that blow the Santa thing out of proportion. So, let's set the record straight... (as best I can)

The modern day American character of Santa Clause is actually a hybrid of several different legends rolled into one. The most predominant is obviously St. Nicholas. St. Nick was a real person. He was a 4th Century bishop who devoted his life to Christianity...

OK... wait a minute, you mean the original St. Nick was a Christian!!! Wow!!!
(sorry, sarcasm just leaps out of my gaping pie whole when I'm not watching...)

He did give gifts to the poor. (Oddly, in line with what Jesus taught) Most notably was the gift to three daughters of dowry so they wouldn't have to become prostitutes.

Now, we must recognize that as the spread of Christianity made it's way across the globe, it met the tales and legends of other cultures and at times, combined with them. Not to the detriment of the Gospel, but that people would try and retain some of their roots as they became converted. The idea that Santa flies in the air and that children would leave out their shoes with straw and carrots for the animals (modern day stockings) comes from the Norse mythological character of Odin. Odin would lead a great hunting party though the skies at he Norse holiday of Yule. Sound familiar?

There is also some more recent influences that have helped to shape the modern day Santa. One is the Charles Dickens's classic, A Christmas Carol. In in the Ghost of Christmas present is portrayed as a very jolly large man dressed and a long green fur coat. This most definately would have influenced Thomas Nast, who is the illustrator that is responsible for giving us our image of Santa Clause.


After getting a grip around all of that, do you feel that Santa is a demonic, pagan influence sent to lead our children astray? Or perhaps not so extreme, but still not completely Christian, so we should leave him out? Or that's ok with you, because you'll still know, and teach your children the truth?

No matter what your view is on Santa, I think that we can all agree that he's probably not going anywhere. So, how are you going to deal with it?

- Just a thought.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

I actually agree with you about Santa -- St. Nick was a great guy, etc. The problem I have is not with HIM but with "Christians" who put more emphasis on him than on Jesus. And I can't stand it when people tell me I have to allow my son to receive presents from Santa -- it just wouldn't be Christmas otherwise. The only thing that makes Christmas Christmas is Christ. Period. But I think it's just as harmful to harp on Santa being Satan -- once again the focus is in the wrong place.