What Do We Do With Santa Claus?

We’re opening up a can of worms here, aren’t we?  But the question is more important and deeper than just deciding to go along with the Santa Claus myth for a while in the lives of our children or not.  What does perpetuating this myth produce?  Here are some helpful observations from Dr. John Piper:

  • Santa Claus offers only earthly things, nothing lasting, nothing eternal. Jesus offers eternal joy with the world thrown in. Yeah, the fire engine is thrown in.
  • Santa Claus offers his ephemeral goodies only on the condition of good works. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you are awake. He knows when you have been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake. That is a pure works-religion. And Jesus offers himself all the gifts freely by grace through faith.
  • Santa Claus is make-believe. Jesus is more real than the roof on your house.
  • Santa Claus only shows up once a year. Jesus promises, “I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20). You say to your kid every night: He is standing by your bed. He is with you when you get up in the morning. He is with you when you go to school today. If mommy and daddy die, he will be right there with you. Santa doesn’t hold a candle to this flame: Jesus.
  • Santa Claus cannot solve our worst problem, and Jesus did solve our worst problem — our sin and our alienation from God. Santa Claus can put some icing on the cake of the good life, but he cannot take a shattered life and rebuild it with hope forever. And our kids need to know that about Christmas.
  • Santa Claus is not relevant in many cultures of the world. And Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords and all the peoples of the world.
  • Santa Claus will be forgotten someday, and Jesus will be the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
The question is bigger than “should we or shouldn’t we.” “Is it harmless or is it harmful?”  The question is “what does it produce?”  Does it point us to the joy that can only be found in Jesus Christ?  Does it produce the fruit that shows us our desperate need for His grace and mercy and that we can do nothing without Him?
These aren’t questions we should only ask of Santa Claus but of everything in life.  It is good to enjoy the gifts of God (that includes stories and entertainment) if they point you to God.  Otherwise they are idols that compete with God.  If they don’t point you to Him, they are pointing you away from Him.  As we prepare Him room in our hearts this Christmas, let us examine the joys in our life. Let’s examine all the things we see and hear, the things we teach and discuss, the things we love and hate.  Do they point you to Jesus or away from Him?