I am just going to come out and say it at the outset: I am not a fan of what our culture has done with Santa Claus. No, I don't have any issues with large men with white long beards who dress in red. (For all I know that very well could be a description of me in about 40 years!) My problem is with how he has become the center of the celebration of this time of year and in essence has pushed out the very reason underlying all the festivities, the incarnation; God becoming man in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to save repentant sinners from their sins. It saddens me to see children taught to be so excited about a fictional character that supposedly comes just once a year but not about the very Savior born on that silent night we often sing about who is always present with us. A very unlikely theologian has said well that Jesus Gets Jealous of Santa Claus. Sinclair Ferguson has described what CHRISTmas actually looks like today for many of us: "Santa is worshiped, not the Savior; pilgrims go to the stores with credit cards, not to the manger with gifts. It is the feast of indulgence, not of the incarnation." Now, I am not planning to spend a lot of time attacking a man who doesn't exist. I have far too much more important things to do than that. Besides, I would like to direct your attention to the real St. Nicholas of history who is much more valuable than a mythical creature who flies around in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer and whom the church historian in me would like everyone to know about.
Long before "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," there was a man named Nicholas who served as bishop of Myra in Modern Day Turkey. He was a staunch defender of orthodoxy, especially against the Arian heresy which promoted the unbiblical notion that Jesus was a creature and thus not the eternal God. He guarded the people of the region he served in from following such errant doctrine. It has even been reported that Nicholas actually went to Nicea and slapped the leader of this heresy, Arius, in the face. He certainly wasn't "jolly" when it came to false teaching! He also was known as a generous gift giver and probably gave away the vast inheritance he received from his parents.
This is the St. Nick that I want people to know. One who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and was unwavering on the truth of Who He is as revealed in His Word. Who ensured that the people he was charged with leading were not led astray by falsehood. Who followed his Master's generosity in giving of himself to benefit others. And most importantly, who directed us to the real One to get excited about and celebrate, the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps we would be wise to give more attention to the real St. Nick this season instead of the sensational legend that often serves to point away from Jesus and the wonder of His birth.
Soli Deo Gloria
P. S. Concerning how to handle Santa Claus in your CHRISTmas celebrations, I believe that John Piper has addressed this so well that I will direct you to him concerning that: https://soundcloud.com/askpastorjohn/santa-claus-harmless-fun-or. My favorite quote from that podcast: "If being Jesus-focused is a kill joy for Christmas, you don't know Him well."
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15
- I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.