Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southern California.
Re: Santa Claus -- Do your allow your children to believe in him?
My mum is a devoted Christians too But she allowed us to believe in Santa. i think this summarizes it up nicely!
by Christa Abernathy
I believe in Santa Claus. There, I said it. I believe in Santa Claus, of history. I believe that a kind Christian man gave freely to the less fortunate in his community and that his love and kindness became legendary. I also believe in the idea of Santa Claus. I believe that there are rewards for those who do good, who help others and who share freely what they have.
One of the great traditions of Christianity is symbolism; taking simple everyday things and likening them to great doctrinal ideas. Symbolism is so embedded in the Christian traditions that most of what we do has spiritual origins.
No Christian holiday holds more of this symbolism than Christmas. From the jungle bell to the candy cane, these symbols have deeply embedded religious origins.
Probably the most popular Christmas symbol aside from the actual nativity story is the legend of Santa Clause. Everyone is familiar with him; a kind-hearted soul and lover of children. Dressed in red, he comes as a thief in the night to reward those on his "good list" and leave a burnt coal for those on the bad list. His gifts are given freely, without any expectation except that the recipient continue being good. He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake! He travels among the clouds, he brings happiness, encouragement, and love.
Sound familiar? Is it any wonder that Santa is a symbol of Christ? Some may argue that there are too many differences, that the two are too different to compare. But by that standard, I suppose the kingdom of God is not really like leavened bread, and faith is not really like a mustard seed. With symbolism, it's not the differences that matter. It's the similarities that draw our attention to the meaning and offer insights into the deeper implications of what we already understand. Symbols were never intended to be taken to the extreme. They lose their meaning when they are. But that does not mean a symbol's details cannot provide insight about what they represent. The key is to focus on the similarities.
Some would argue that the symbol of Santa has completely overshadowed Christ, that people have forgotten Christ because of our focus on the Santa. I would agree that this shouldn't happen. But which is better, to destroy the symbol in hopes that in doing so, people will revert their attention back to Christ, or to simply remind people that Santa is a symbol of Christ, and that the tradition of Santa has the most value when we remember that he is a symbol of Christ.
There is another aspect to this question that we ought to consider: could it be that we, as a society, have already forgotten Christ, and our focus on Santa is simply another evidence of that fact? If so, our focus should be on the cure rather than the symptom. What is the cure? Returning to Christ. If we do that, the rest will follow naturally. Santa, if he's remembered at all, will become what he is intended to be: a symbol of Christ.
One other thought. It is rarely disputed that Christmas is essentially a Christan holiday, but as the world becomes a tighter community, many other religions are adopting some of the unique traditions associated with Christmastime pine trees, gifts, candy, family togetherness, and of course, Santa Clause. Those who are not Christian join in the cultural aspects of the holiday while leaving out the spiritual.
This has led society as a whole to cling to the common threads of tradition, bringing people closer. Atheists share in the spirit of giving. Gnostics join in the warmth and fun of the season. While Christians may get the full spiritual experience of the season, Muslims, Buddhists, and Jews share in the joy of togetherness and love. Santa is part of that tradition, and though others will see him as a representation of these cultural traditions, Christians can see him as a representation of Christ