“He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake! Oh, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.”
I grew up singing this song, but honestly, as an adult, it’s a little creepy. There’s a few reasons other than just the creepy song that my husband and I made the decision that Santa would not be a part of our Christmas tradition, but before I get into that, I want to say that I write as an expression of my own faith-walk with the Lord, I share what I’ve learned through my daily life and my personal convictions and the scriptures that lead me to believe them. I’m not condemning anyone who chooses to include Santa in their own family tradition, though if you believe the Lord led you to this post, I pray there is a fragment of the Lord’s wisdom shared with you and that He would work in your heart whatever it is that He’d have you gain from reading this. Other than that, I have no other motivations. So there.
1) Santa is not real, let alone omniscient or omnipresent, nor is he immortal. These are attributes that belong only to God and it is clear that no one is like our God, and we should not elevate anyone to His level – even at the expense of a little “Christmas magic.”
There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God. (1 Samuel 2:2)
No one is like you, LORD; You are great, and Your name is mighty in power. (Jeremiah 10:6)
There is no one like You, LORD, and there is no God but You, as we have heard with our own ears. (1 Chronicles 17:20).
There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. (Deuteronomy 33:26).
I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides me ther is no god. I will gird you, thought you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:5-6)
One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:6)
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought life to everyone. (John 1:1-4)
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)
2) Using presents as motivation for good behavior promotes works-based faith, eliminating the need for grace and Jesus. In my own family, I know my 5 year old daughter struggles already with the concept of being good and bad. She wants so much to be a “good girl” and not be “bad” and it breaks my heart to watch her wrestle this way with her own sin. And this culture of works-based and behavior-based rewards capitalizes on children like her, and it makes them slaves to their behavioral record, and will ultimately make them misunderstand the freedom of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. We’ll never be fully good – but we aren’t fully bad either. We have not ever deserved or earned His grace, but that’s what makes it grace: it is done out of love alone and it is free.
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.’ (Matthew 19:16-17)
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. And good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:17-18).
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace – His undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is thorugh God’s kindness, the it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved. (Romans 11:5-6)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:9)
And we DO good works, yes, but they are an expression of our faith, not a method of obtaining blessings from God.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Side Note: As far as Christmas magic goes… as believers, I want everyone to realize, we aren’t killing Christmas magic by not celebrating Santa Claus. The magic that children believe in with Santa, about a fat man fitting down their chimney and elves building their presents in the North Pole… brothers and sisters, we have a magic FAR GREATER.
God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. – Max Lucado
There is SO much magic in the real Christmas story – and there are a million million magical stories of the miracles of God preceding the Christmas story and throughout time to follow: creation, great floods, parting seas, men living into their hundreds, people being raised from the dead, the sick being healed, living being forever changed – and the God of all things, our Creator Almighty choosing to come from the heavens to be born in a barn, that we might be able to boldly approach Him covered in grace and love. If those aren’t magical stories, I don’t know what is.
After all, though, I do hope you and your family have a peaceful and blessed Christmas this year, and every year of your life to come. I pray that the Lord be glorified as we celebrate the miraculous birth of His Son, Jesus Christ, together! It really is the most wonderful time of the year.