Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it is racked with teachings working at cross purposes.
On the one hand, we have the Jolly Old Elf, St. Nick himself, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas. Ho, Ho, Ho!
What does Santa teach our little cherubs?
“You better watch out!” (Be fearful: Santa’s coming to town! If he catches you pouting or crying, you are DONE! No toys for you!)
“He sees you when you are sleeping, and when you are awake!” (Be paranoid: Santa has god powers, and he will expose your every deep dark secret.)
“He has a list! He knows if you’ve been bad or good!” (Feel guilty: You are busted!)
“He is gonna find out who’s naughty or nice!” (Hopelessness: Go ahead, just try being good.)
Bottom line Santa theology: “You’re toast, kids. You’re all rotten, and there’s not much you can do about it. Be good and earn your way to a present, even though it’s impossible, and when you get a dictionary for Christmas, you’ll know why! Meanwhile, come across with the milk and cookies or I’ll have the reindeer stomp holes in your roof!”
Santa provokes greed, tempting us to posture some kind of fake goodness, lusting for the payoff.
Now what about Christ Jesus? What does he teach our kids?
“It’s not about performance. It’s about faith.
“If you let me, I’ll take all your naughtiness on to my shoulders and cancel it out so you don’t have to pay for it. Then, I’ll give you all my goodness so that you can live happily and freely, enjoying the reality you are heaven-bound for good, guaranteed.
“After all, isn’t that the greatest gift, along with loving your neighbor as yourself?
You can keep Santa.
I’ll stay with the True Spirit of Christmas!
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