Would a Christian dress up as Santa Claus?

On the one hand, Santa Claus has replaced Jesus Christ as the focus of Christmas, but on the other hand, Santa Claus is a type of Jesus Christ. Mention the word “Santa” to a child and his response will likely be positive. Santa is kind, generous, welcoming, fun, and he gives gifts to all children, regardless of their colour, race or religion. What better glimpse of Jesus Christ could children get than that?

On the other hand, Santa also gives children some wrong impressions that don’t fit Jesus Christ at all. Like the words in the song: “Oh, 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 making a list and checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…He knows if you’ve been bad or good…etc.” Santa now becomes the typical picture of God as the spy in the sky checking us out to see if we’re behaving, rewarding only those who meet his standards and to hell with the rest. Unfortunately, the child will have that picture reinforced later in his life too, in the negative ideas most religions have about God and how he looks at us.

On the other hand, Santa has been very effective in bringing a smile to sick kids and raising money for good causes. He’s a key figure in the spirit of giving, generosity and cheeriness that spreads through the land at Christmas-time, which fits in beautifully with what Jesus was born for, to begin the new creation promised in the Old Testament and to bring heaven and earth together on this planet, so what Jesus came for is really happening – whether people are aware of it, or not. The Spirit truly has been poured out on all flesh, just as Scripture says, because look at all the good being done at Christmas-time.

Santa is not Jesus Christ, though, and never can be, nor can our culture create through Santa what only Jesus Christ can create, no matter how hard it tries. But Santa is what our Western culture has come up with, and he could be a lot worse, like the weird gods of eastern religions.

So, can we take what our culture has created and, like Christians in all ages, turn it around and use it to shine a light on Jesus? All it would take, for instance, is dressing up in a Santa suit, and suddenly a child sees you not as a distant adult, but as someone who’s as close as you can get nowadays to what Jesus is like.

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