Nicholas, a 17-year-old Catholic priest, became known for his generosity toward those that were in need (especially children). Following his death the Catholic church granted him the status of sainthood. As the Catholic church began to celebrate Christmas, they included St Nicholas in their celebration.
As time progressed, due to the influence of the reformation, the person of St Nicholas began to be changed into a variety of characters. Different nations began to form their own description and name for this generous person. St Nicholas’s new names ranged from Father Christmas, Christmas Man, Pere Noel and many others. The name most commonly used in our country, Santa Claus, came from the Dutch version of St Nicholas, who was given the name, Sinterklaas.
In the early 1800s, most of the specific features of Santa Claus were first developed by two different publications; Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and Thomas Nast’s yearly drawings of Santa Claus in “Harper’s Weekly” magazine.
Finally in the early to mid 1900’s Coca Cola commercials were the first time Santa Claus was pictured with the all of his modern-day features.
During the years of this evolutionary process, Santa Claus became an inseparable part of the American holiday season. The vast majority of homes in the US continue to include Santa Claus in their Christmas celebration. According to an AP AOL News poll 85% of those polled believed in Santa Claus as a child. Also, over 60% of homes with children believe that Santa Claus is “important” to their holiday celebration. For an eye-opening look at the role of Santa in the American celebration of Christmas please go to the poll:
Christmas, which mankind has set aside to celebrate the birth of Christ, in today’s time seems to center more on Santa Claus than on the Lord Jesus Christ. So what gives? Could it be, that the world has chosen to replace Christ with Santa Claus? Is Santa Claus the secular version of Christ? Let’s take a look and see what similarities Christ and Santa share…
To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (Isa 40:25)
In our text, the Lord is making the point that He is clearly exalted above all creatures, great or small. Although this is a true statement, many times man tries to find replacements for Christ. One of those man-made replacements is Santa Claus.
Here is a quick comparison of Christ with Santa Claus:
- Comes in the Sky – Mark 14:62
- Has White Hair – Rev 1:14
- Wears Red Clothing - Isa 63:1-2
- The Time of His Coming Is Unknown – Matt 24:43-44
- Knows All The Actions Of Humans – Hebs 4:13
- Can Be Present Everywhere – Jer 23:23-24
- Will Not Die – Rev 1:8
- Rewards Good / Evil - Rev 22:12, Rom 14:12 … Santa leaves gifts or coal
- Loves Little Children – Mark 10:14
- Described as Christ child – Luke 2:11-12…. Kris Kringle means “Christ Child”
- Says Ho Ho – Zech 2:6
- Answers requests made to Him – Matthew 7:7
- Belief in Him is necessary for gifts to be received – Hebs 11:6
- We Look forward to His coming – Titus 2:13
Need I say more?
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
As we celebrate this Christmas season, at the least, we need to be sure that our children understand the true meaning of Christmas. We can all do this by emphasizing the role of Christ and minimizing the role of Santa Claus.
For some of us, we may decide to totally exclude Santa from our holiday celebration and center all of our attention on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. After all, isn’t that what He really deserves?
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isa 42:8)