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.