Santa, learning to believe?

A missed opportunity.

As a child I watched Dana Carvy as the Church Lady and enjoyed one of the most memorable skits. As the “Church Lady” in the skit “Church Chat” Dana’s Character draws the conclusion that Santa is Satan if you just move the “N”.  We laughed it off and thought nothing of it and went on in our jolly holiday. Little did I realize I was allowing an opportunity to learn to just slip by me.

As I have watched organizations fight feverously against the Country moving Jesus out of the public eye. I have often thought of the Crusades and how the “Christians” went and by force battled for the promise land to be under Christian rule. Often the Church wrote certifications “covering” the sins of men who brutally fought killing men who were just defending their home. I wonder how far we should go to “fight” for Jesus. I look back to the word to find that often God let armies of 100k perish because they fought without his blessing and then I see where he used only 300 to defeat and Army of 100k because they allowed him to work. I wonder sometimes in my diligence to fight for Christ if I have done it by the sweat of my own brow or by the glory of God? I have often “fought” against Santa feeling he took away from the holiday designated for the Christ. All the while I was missing and important lesson that I could have learned from Santa.

Once I had a conversation surrounding the development of the peace sign. As we look at the history of it we find different speculations of its origin. Some point to the fact it was a marking upon on of the German Tank regiments and was meant to be the incognito version of the swastika since the swastika was outlawed. We also heard it was from and artist who painted it for the purpose of a peace sign and each section stood for something different. Then we hear of the upside down broken Cross with is a sign of Satanism.  What is the true meaning of the peace sign?

Another item close and dear to many of our memories is the Christmas Tree. This also has many belief’s on its origion. Some say it was because it was an evergreen it had spiritual powers and was the Sun Gods promise he would return to full strength in the summer and so many adorned their house with it at the winter solstice or the shortest days of the year as praise to the sun God. Others say because it was evergreen it symbolized eternal life. Many used it to keep the evil spirits of disease away by hanging it over the door and placing it inside since winter was the time when most people died of illness. The Catholic Church had a Saint claim to use the shape to teach about the trinity. The red balls once were apples to hang upon the tree to symbolize the tree in the garden and the lights were Jesus. The list goes on and on, but one can easily see the real meaning of the tree could be evil but our memories of childhood we reflect on are of good.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

In all things, will you see the good that God has for you, or will you see only the evil the world has intended for you? So often I fought Santa rather than learning how to use the idea of Santa to the Glory of God.

“The Polar Express” was beautiful movie full of mystery and marvel. I stumble at the thought that the main character (the train Director) is also the man in “Da Vinci Code” in which the fundamentals of Christianity are painted as false. This movie encourages children to believe in Santa Clause. It forces the question, can we believe?  So I ask myself, a few questions, first who believes in Santa. Who encourages the belief in Santa Clause, and finally who is Santa Clause?

Once again turning to the pages of history nothing is recorded in early Church documents about St. Nicholas. Most of his history is that of legend written in many books and stories but nothing “legal”. Saint Nicholas of 300 AD is agreed to be the persona of which Santa Clause is based off of. Kriss Kringle is the name which Martin Luther referred to Santa as. He was from Turkey and was from a rich family. This is about the only constant in all the stories. Some claim he was a miracle worker as a child. Some claim his Parents died while he was a lad, others claim as a young man, some never mention them. One of his most famous exploits is there were three girls who were so poor, they were without food. They decided that they would go be prostitutes the next day and he gave them money that night. Some said it was thrown through the window others say it was placed in their stockings which were by the fire drying out. Some even say the three were prostitutes who had been killed and he raised them from the dead. Some say he named them Faith Hope and Love.

Another story of the most beloved Saint in the history of the east and west Church is that he would make night time visits to the poor and leave gifts for them in the cover of darkness so that he would not be praised for his kindness. However in the year 303, the Roman emperor Diocletian commanded all the citizens of the Roman Empire, which included Asia Minor, to worship him as a god. Story has it he was put in jail for not worshiping himself for no one knew his true identity and as he was a Christian he would only worship God. Over 2000 Churches where built in his honor and he was the patron saint of many. The English split away from the Catholics brought about Father Christmas. The name Santa Clause may have come from the Dutch Version of Saint Nicholas.

All of the History is unsubstantiated legend yet how many parents teach it to their children? I wonder how this legend can glorify Christ. We cannot even for certain tell the history of Santa Clause to our children yet they believe. Why do they believe? First they believe because we believe. Second they are dependent upon their parents for their livelihood. They trust us for their provision and we ask nothing in return but love, so to them to believe there is one who would bless them with a gift and ask for nothing in return but belief is believable. Santa Clause is a small way to learn how to believe. The difference is that Santa Clause is not even the real story yet it is believed by children because they trust you. When the falseness of Santa is discovered a piece of that trust in you as a parent also fades away. When I tell them the love Christ has for them they will subconsciously remember the heartbreak of Santa and they will live by the Old saying “fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me”.

The missed lesson of Santa Clause is that Christ said if we believe like children we will find Heaven.  So by watching the way little Children believe in Santa is how I learn I must trust in Jesus and his words. Santa came from a good start, I guess. It has turned into something  that actually tears down the trust between a child and the parent or Grandparent, or neighbor, or anyone who “fools” them with this lie. So when the story of Christ is taught they will feel it is too good to be true and they will not be fooled again.

Santa is a good way to learn how to believe, but the story will build walls that may one day hide the truth from them who once believed. The question is not whether it is evil or good, but how you use it, how you see it, that determines whether it is good or evil.

Genesis 50:20(a) You planned evil against me; God planned it for good