Christmas ponderings are a dime a dozen these days. At less than a penny per thought it may be a safe investment. I’ll stand behind a money back guarantee.
My thesis is this: If we would evangelize for Jesus as easily and clearly as we do Santa then our children would be better equipped in the gospel. This thesis was formed after my wife and I watched The Polar Express recently. While the movie offered no new doctrines of Santa (though he was a bit more fit!), it did spark some reflection. There is a strange thread that runs through Santaism that sounds strangely familiar Christian evangelism. I offer several examples.
First, and one which is fundamental to Santaism, is belief. One must believe in order to see. In fact, the tagline for the movie was “For those who truly believe.” In a world that demands universal scientific proof, we except Santa from the equation.
Second, there is usually some type of “confession” of faith. The young boy was deaf to the sounds of Santa until he finally admitted, “I believe.” Until then he was on the outside looking in.
Third, “saving” belief creates a real, emotional, life-changing experience with someone unseen to the mortal eye. While unbelievers snub the North Pole as fictitious, “believers” enjoy a tangible, memorable, personal knowledge of the Jolly One.
Fourth, with belief comes great blessings. For Santa’s followers, they reaped the benefits of all the North Pole could offer.
Fifth, the joy of the North Pole created the desire to tell others about it. The Polar Express was full of “missionaries” who could not wait to tell another proselyte about their faith.
Strangely, I haven’t heard such clear gospel language in many churches! Unfortunately, many Christians are better equipped and more confident in sharing the gospel of Santa than the gospel of Jesus. It is amazing that we would demand our children believe in Santa, but won’t impose a belief in Jesus. If we would labor to evangelize for someone who is not true, how much more should we do so for the historical Lord of Glory? Most probably don’t realize how close they are to gospel language! In many cases it would merely require changing the same “Santa” to “Jesus.” How fine the line between fantasy and orthodoxy!
I am hardly suggesting we use the story of Santa to sneak in the gospel. I am suggesting we return the gospel back to whom it rightly belongs. Santa has hijacked the gospel and it is high time Jesus have it back in the Christian home.
4 thoughts on “The Gospel of Santa”
Imagine my joy here as I am about to pack it in and go spend time with the family, and in one quick check of the e-mail, I find out you have now entered the blogzone! So, off to your blog I went (the family can wait a few more minutes, right?), for I had to see it to believe it… Your first post was okay, but your blog’s title reminded me of what I love and appreciate about you! Muse on, brother, and know that this pastor from Akron, er, Athens, has a new homepage!
By the way, the search committee from FBC Jacksonville called and they were hot on your trail… I told them that according to some new information I just received, you are a blind and ignorant man. I don’t think they’ll be calling.
Seriously, thanks for doing this.
My Dear Steve, that’s what I love about you: you tolerate me. I’m sure many of our conversations will make it into the blog. However, I will never, ever reveal that 1999 was the year I dominated you in golf. That secret is safe. I love you, brother.
Hey, Hey, Hey…or is it Ho, Ho, Ho? Good to hear from you. Blog’s are a dime a dozen. But I’d pay more than a dime for just yours. This post is right on the mark–and well-written, too!
Just to add my two cents (which will by 2.4 blogs at the going rate)…we are finding it useful to chunk Santa Claus with our kids…but when they begin to ask the inevitable questions, we plan to tell them about the real guy name St. Nicolas, a Christian Pastor in Asia Minor whose generosity with the poor was a wonderful imitation of Jesus.
So Santa must give way to Jesus. And St. Nicolas can point to Jesus.
As always, you spurn me on to love and good deeds. You love Jesus more than I and I am grateful for your example. All grace and love to your family. We miss you all.