Book: Christmas: The Greatest Story Never Told

For those who even contemplate a reason for the connection of Santa Claus to Christ’s birth, the most common belief about Santa Claus is as the historic good old Saint Nick, the patron saint of children. Since the story comes from the Catholic Church, we should find documentation of him in their records. However, in fact we find the exact opposite. Pope Paul VI, in 1969, approved a report discrediting the sainthood of Nicholas. Since that time the church has not obligated Catholics to honor a man who they now say probably never existed.

Nevertheless, many traditions associated with him would be immediately recognizable to us today. Do you wonder why Santa comes down the chimney? This is connected with Hertha, a Germanic goddess of the hearth, the German version of Isis, the “virgin” sister/ mother of Osiris. Santa’s sleigh is a representation of Babylon’s chariot pulling the sun god through the sky, but it was originally pulled by winged griffins. Over time, stags, so venerated in the Babylonian Mysteries, replaced the winged griffins. Eventually, the old chariot and mythical animals were softened to the sleigh and cute little reindeer we are all so familiar with today.

“From the German people were to come those most universal of Christmas customs: the portly beneficent Kris Kringle, known as Santa Claus. Gradually the Presbyterians, Quakers, and Puritans accepted such customs as the Christmas tree, the giving of small gifts, and the Christmas feast. But they spoke violently against the corruption of the Christkindl (the Christ Child) into Kris Kringle. After Kris Kringle was fully assimilated, there was much concern among all religious groups about the non-religious trend of the holiday” (Christmas Day.- the Complete Book of American Holidays - Myers, p. 316).

By now it is apparent that this is just another example of the Catholic Church bringing the already popular religious customs of their new “converts” into their Church. That influence carried over into nearly all other Christian-professing denominations as well. Imagine the uproar and non-compliance of people in your town if told they could no longer celebrate Christmas? Think of all the customs you enjoy so much. Well, that’s how our superstitious pagan ancestors felt about their festivals. Over the centuries and around the world, their traditions were not changed or eliminated but were only renamed. Hence, the people of the world’s pagan religions were united in the Roman Church. Together with the promises of acceptance by God and the power of the “Vicar of Christ,” the conversion of millions of these “Christianized” pagans into the Catholic Church was not difficult. Their old traditions were shared and assimilated into the melting pot of traditions that we call Christmas.

“All of this is ancient history,” many may say. What is the real danger in teaching children to believe in Santa? Well, first of all, notice in the Scriptures that God does not say, “You shall not lie—except when it’s fun. Little white lies are okay; after all, we are doing a good thing. The end justifies the means.” In Proverbs 6:16 &19, we learn that God hates false witnesses who speak with lying tongues; indeed, they are an abomination to Him! We see with absolute clarity the seriousness of the matter when we read in Rev. 21:8, “...and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.”

It is all too easy for some people to reason, “Well, I’m just using Santa to bring my children to Christ and to learn to do what is right. I’m teaching that God rewards us when we do the right things—and I teach them to always tell Mommy and Daddy the truth! That’s why I sing the song: Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Let’s look at the lyrics:

“You better watch out, You better not cry, You better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town! He’s makin’ a list, He’s checkin’ it twice, Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town! He knows when you’ve been sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake.” (or you won’t get any toys, you little brats!)

If you think we should we lighten up and get with the spirit of the tradition, think again! Look at those lyrics again. Santa has been placed on the very throne of God, in His stead, and with authority of supreme judgment! God did not place him there—of that we can be sure! Humanity did, and the results can be disastrous!

Here is the reason: We all know this from personal experience. Tragically, it is repeated in the lives of millions of children every year. Somewhere, generally between the ages of six and twelve, children begin to use the powers of reasoning. They no longer just accept everything they’re told as absolute fact. They are learning about animals in school, from this and their own observations they conclude, “It’s not possible for reindeer to fly!” Even in their own lives they can’t fit all the things that they want to do in one day. Then they begin to realize, “Santa couldn’t possibly go to every house in the world where good little boys and good little girls live in just one night!” Then there’s the problem of houses with no chimneys, locked doors and steel bars.

What about that snack everyone leaves out for Santa? After eating all those snacks from thousands of houses, even a skinny man couldn’t fit back up through a narrow chimney—even if he could have come down it in the first place. After they think out these details or an older child tells them the truth, they realize something that probably has never occurred to them before: Their parents are lying to them! Their trust has been destroyed! This is devastating to a child. Worse yet, “If my parents taught me to believe in Santa, that he knows every good or bad thing I’ve done or thought or said, and he’s not real....”

Do you see where this leads? Don’t parents likewise teach their children that God knows everything about them? Here is someone they can’t see, hear, or touch, with a magical image, who rewards for good behavior (eternal life) and punishes for bad behavior (eternal death). AND, by the way children, God is spirit and lives forever—just like Santa (nobody worries about Santa getting too old and forced to retire! He’s ageless!). “They sound like the same lie,” thinks the child. “I can’t believe in God either. They probably made him up so I’ll think somebody’s watching me, or so that I won’t be afraid to die.” This loss of belief in God is confirmed in their minds each time a parental lie is uncovered: the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy.... Think about it!

It is plain to see, there is nothing innocent or harmless about this ungodly practice of giving children false hopes through deception. The loss YOU suffer when your children no longer trust you, and the loss your children suffer when God is no longer real to them, are voids that nothing else can fill.

Take heed that you do not trivialize the great seriousness of this matter. Remember, God commands, “You shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16).