“Gabe, do you believe in Santa because I think . . . ” My 13 year-old said these words the other day. Yes, 13. That age where they know everything–everything but to make sure the filter between head and mouth is in effect.
The internal sirens signaled.
Do. Something. Now.
No one, not even a beloved daughter, was going to push my Bubba off the cliff of belief in a jolly but fictitious guy a few days before his big event.
My face instantly contorted into that “don’t you dare ruin anything” position, staring her down in the hopes of conveying this silent but urgent message.
My immediate reaction–a fear-like response that the truth was about to be divulged–helped me see how Santa helps prove Jesus’ existence. I know many don’t promote Santa in their homes, but whatever your stance on the bowl of jelly guy, just hear me out for a minute.
Think about all of the secrecy of Santa, the lectures between parents and older siblings making them promise to not spill the beans or the quick changing of subjects when kids start asking too many questions about how one guy can be in every mall across America at the same time. Think about the great efforts taken to ensure young children don’t figure it out. In my house, that means buying wrapping paper that is only used for the Santa presents and writing names on gifts with my left-hand to disguise my handwriting.
Even Chicken Soup for the Soul puts in their guidelines that anything submitted for their Christmas books must be Santa-friendly. Norad tracks the guy’s flight and calculates the number of presents delivered.
If ever there was a conspiracy theory, this is it and we know it. Some refuse to play along, while most do. Regardless of your views on St. Nicholas, the reality is that, well, there is no reality anymore involving St. Nick.
Think about the great efforts taken to make sure our littles keep believing and compare that with everything stated in the Bible. When you read instances of Jesus saying, “Shh, don’t tell anyone,” it is entirely different than when we recite the Santa-promoting code. Jesus’ version of “Shh” always came after He healed someone. Yes, it was entirely true that He performed miracles, but the reason He came to earth could not be confined to healing people of their diseases.
He came to heal our hearts, to reconcile us to himself by laying down His life.
(BuzzFeed Video, found on YouTube)
Let’s admit it. This jolly fellow has changed quite a bit over the years. In fact, one source says he really wasn’t even a happy guy to begin with. Hundreds of years after he died, the clothing he purportedly wore while alive changed. Same with his name, demeanor and entire approach of gifting.
Then there’s Jesus. Yes, He referred to himself by different names while on earth, and those references remain to this day, but new titles haven’t emerged. Jesus didn’t become St. Joseph or Patty or dare I say it, Kris Kringle.
Our perception of Jesus remains much the same as it did thousands of years ago. Yes, some dare approach Him with more familiarity than our predecessors, but the overall perspective remains.
Santa’s name and appearance weren’t the only things that have changed over the years. His purpose did, too. Originally said to have given coins to 2-3 people throughout his entire lifetime, as the centuries passed, we created an image of someone whose sole purpose was to give every child on the face of the planet the perfect present.
It is here that I must give pause, for many have attempted to believe a modified version of Jesus’ purpose on earth. “He was a good man,” they say. Yes, without a doubt. In fact, we’ll say Good with a capital G, but Jesus never came to win the good-award.
He came to win you and me, not because we deserve it, but simply because He is so filled with love that He is Love, He couldn’t help but pour that love out in the most lavish of ways for our benefit.
So as the decorations come down in the next few weeks, try separating out fact from fiction. Pack away the Santa ornaments and figurines with the myths, but let the Truth remain year-long, the Truth of a love so rich, so intentional, so beyond our comprehension that it puts the story-book romances to shame. Let this love story become yours and mine, for like the many gifts under the trees, it will only be appreciated once opened and utilized.