What is the relationship between Santa Claus and Jesus? How did a huge magical figure in a red costume become inextricably linked with the arrival of Jesus Christ? Should Christians engage in the Santa myth, and what are its consequences?
Santa’s appearance is prominent throughout Christmas time, but do we truly know where he came from? What should we tell our children when they question, “Who’s Santa?” What does Santa Clause have to do with Christianity?
We can take this as an opportunity to convey the teachings of God and use his magic to bring out the best in our children. Let’s look at the origins of Santa Claus, the evolution of his meaning throughout, with some of the rituals associated with his moniker.
The History of Santa Claus
Santa Claus is the English translation of Sinterklaas, the Dutch moniker for St. Nicholas. The real St. Nicholas was a god-fearing man renowned for his benevolence and compassion, but the Santa Claus today is connected with a world of fiction.
In the 3rd century, Nicholas was raised in Patara and was born to wealthy Christian parents. Nicholas’ family most likely descended from the Apostle Paul. They had stopped at Patara on his third apostle journey 200 years earlier.
The parents of Nicholas were supposed to be fervent Christians who wanted a child for quite long. They devoted Nicholas to God as soon as he was born. As the only child, he was raised with utmost love and care. Unfortunately, a plague-ravaged his city when Nicholas was just a young teenager, and he lost his parents.
While a tragedy may cause some people to drift away from their Lord, Nicholas got closer to God. His heart seemed to have been softened by the loss of his parents.
Nicholas received a substantial fortune and wanted to spend it wisely by pleasing and honoring God. He gained such a stellar reputation around the region that he earned the title of Archbishop of Myra in his mid-twenties. It proved that he must have shown maturity and true character way beyond his age.
Christmas and the History of St. Nicholas
Nicholas’ life is rich with anecdotes, highlighting his generosity and exemplary devotion toward God. Following his demise on December 6th, gift-giving became a ritual in his honor.
To most Christians, it all seemed relevant that an occasion to honor Nicholas’ generosity would clash with the birth of Jesus Christ, the best gift yet brought to this world.
Yet, most Christian dignitaries were disappointed by the combination, believing that St. Nicholas was dissuading the spotlight away from Jesus.
In Middle Age iconography, St. Nicholas was generally viewed as a slender, tall bearded man of God. So, how did he become the magical Santa Clause? Santa’s white beard and red clothes are similar to Sinterklaas’s bishop’s robes.
However, the “super cute and chubby” depiction of Santa Claus in America may come from a 19th-century poem. “Twas, The Night Before Christmas” was an effort to portray a friendlier picture of Santa to tell kids that they may have “nothing to fear,” as the poem describes it.
Santa vs. Jesus
We often wonder why people confuse Christ and Santa Claus. They also assume that because Santa Claus is fiction, Jesus must also be. Is it only a speculative faith based on intuition or something worse?
There are several stories that people believe in. When you delve a little further, you’ll discover they’re built on some extremely shaky notions.
Is Santa Claus built on dubious beliefs? Is faith in Jesus Christ based on assumptions?
The existence, crucifixion, rising, and glorification of Jesus Christ are historical events, with eyewitness sources and the Bible testifying to his actual existence.
Furthermore, the first appearance of Jesus Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament nearly 1500 years before by numerous authors and on various dates.
For instance, in Isaiah 7:14,” Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Santa Claus’ is still a wonderful game to play. We may pretend to be Santa and bless the underprivileged, or we can deliver goodies to those we care about. It’s not necessary to choose between the two!
St. Nick was a devout disciple of Jesus, not a villain! The spirit of Christmas is more about how God gave his son, and we should reciprocate by giving.
Santa Claus Today
Most Christian parents are undecided about whether or not to engage their children in the “Santa game.” On one side, Santa makes Christmas spectacular and joyful, creating lasting holiday memories.
However, the focus of Christmas must be on Jesus Christ and how he sacrificed his life for his people and saved them from the wrath of God. Is Santa Claus a harmless figure to Christmas celebrations, or should he be shunned?
Parents should use their discretion when deciding if they want to tell Santa stories around Christmas.
Kids who assume that the presents they get on Xmas morning must be from a magical guy with infinite riches are less likely to enjoy what they already have and the contributions of their parents to provide for them.
The Christmas season, which is supposed to be more about sharing, caring, and honoring God, may be overshadowed by materialism and greed.
Even more problematic is convincing our kids that Santa climbs down the chute every year to give them gifts is a lie. It is okay to lie for the “correct” cause in today’s world, and it is not an issue anymore when it’s not harming anyone.
However, lying can have serious consequences in the longer run.
Our Final Thought
From the historical grounds, it is safe to believe that Santa Clause was just another devoted believer of Christianity and a follower of Jesus Christ. The generosity and compassion of St. Nicholas gave birth to the Magical figure of Santa Clause.
Santa Clause has impacted most children’s lives around the world. Parents can use Santa’s positive actions to pass on the actual teachings of Christianity and strengthen their children’s beliefs from a young age.
If someone asks you now: “What does Santa have to do with Christianity?” We hope you can comprehensively address the issue.