A church friend of mine, Bill Mitchell, had some thoughts about Santa, God, and Christmas that he wanted to share with others in these days leading to the celebration of Christ’s birth. So today I’m sharing his words here. I’m sure he’d love to hear your thoughts; I encourage you to post a comment letting Bill know what you think about his reflection!
I was thinking about the idea of Santa Claus. I was thinking about how children, as they come of age, come to the realization that it is impossible for one person, in one night, to visit every single household in the world and leave a gift for all of the children and adults at every one.
When a child begins to think about the impossibility of all this in the real world, and in real time, then it is time for that child to know that there is no Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a myth, a story made up to enhance and enchant the Christmas season, a way to establish pleasant and anticipatory memories. This is great! But there is much more. The lesson of Christmas that we pass on to our children, as they pass from the mystical world of children to the belief world of adulthood, is tied to our belief and the future of the Christian Faith. Will they view Christmas as a hedonistic orgy of excess or the celebration of Gods’ gift to the world?
I am sure that many others have seen and/or written about the similarities of the Santa Claus myth and the birth of Jesus. When we make the transition from childhood mysticism to spiritual awakening, in a way that transforms the mystical myth of Santa Clause into a belief that there is a God, we will have fulfilled a generations old tradition of helping our youth become loving, caring and compassionate adults. This is our responsibility as parents, as grandparents and us all. It is our responsibility as Christians. We must pass on, to the next generation, our Christian values and ethics and our belief that spiritual seeking is a rewarding and important part of life. This is what makes God real.
Here are some similarities between the Santa Claus myth and Christian spiritual belief:
1.) Myth: Santa visits every household on earth on Christmas Eve.
Belief: God can be with us all everywhere and all of the time.
2.) Myth: Santa leaves a gift for each person at each house on Christmas Eve.
Belief: God’s gifts of hope and love, through a child, are given to us all.
3.) Myth: Santa wears a suit of pure white and deep red.
Belief: Jesus represents the white light of God and the red blood of humanity.
4.) Myth: Santa drives a sleigh that is propelled by reindeer.
Belief: Gods’ love, is delivered through Jesus and His deciples, us.
5.) Myth: Santa’s’ gifts are made by elves.
Belief: We, the elves, make Gods’ gifts of hope and love for all.
6.) Myth: Santa lives in a pristine polar environment that is pure and unspoiled.
Belief: It is our responsibility to be at peace with the creation.
7.) Myth: Santa expects us to be good and behave well throughout the year.
Belief: God expects us to do good and behave well throughout the year.
In the context of contemporary Christian spiritual foundations, the leap, from a belief in Santa Claus to a belief in a God, is an easy bridge to cross.
We have Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Gods’ gift to us, which is now called, euphemistically, the holiday season. But, this ‘holy day’ season means or should mean much more to Christians. For Christians, Christmas is a solemn and joyous celebratory ritual. It gives us the marvelous opportunity to tell a story about our belief in God. Through this story, we can make the connection for the next generation, and intellectually engage our children, and convey to them our values as Christians. This is the true gift of Christmas. Spiritual awakening is a very precious and valuable gift. When people pursue spirituality and faith we accomplish the good that comes from this undertaking.
This is the Good that Santa requires and that God expects of us.
It Is Not Impossible!!