This is my favorite time of year. I just love it. The tinsel and lights, and the presents are nice. All the carols and bells make the holiday swell. Ok, that was a bit tongue in cheek. But, I really do love Christmas. It really is my favorite time of the year. I especially love how all kinds of church people start to debate over whether or not Santa should be invited into your home, church, or even into your community. Ok, actually I DON’T love that part. Actually, while I think that there is room for healthy discussion on this topic, most of what I see online is NOT healthy. At the end of the day, I think that Jesus would visit Santa.
I don’t lie to my kids. This is the argument I have often heard. My brothers and I grew up believing in Santa and didn’t grow up feeling lied to or betrayed. However, I do know of at least one person whom I am very fond of and have a lot of respect for that did, in fact, feel that way. He then chose not to “propagate that lie” in his house. Since that is how he was convicted, I applaud him for that. Still, we do Santa in our home.
Harmless fantasy. I often call my little girl my princess. The TRUTH is that I am not descended from royalty and she, therefore, is not a princess. Does this stop me from calling her that? Does this stop her from dancing around the living room in her princess dress and pretending she is a princess? No. The truth is me calling her my princess or her pretending to be one are just harness fantasy. I feel the same way about Santa. The whole Santa thing is just harmless fantasy. Paul, in the book of Romans, encouraged us to stick firmly to the convictions that God has given us. However, he cautioned us not to hold others to those convictions that God has given just for us. For this reason I would say if you feel convicted to not do Santa in your house, then go with it, but don’t hold others to that conviction.
Jesus would visit Santa. Because of all the controversy among church people and because of the confusion it could possible cause non-believers, I have always chosen to keep Santa out of the churches I have served. But, I do think that Jesus would have gone to the mall to visit Santa. Why do I think that? Because it matches the pattern of how He lived His life. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day called Him a drunkard and a glutton. They called him this simply because He chose to send time with lost people. Jesus had dinner in Matthew’s house, even though He knew the party was full of “sinners”. Heck, He probably went there BECAUSE it was filled with sinners.
So, would Jesus visit Santa? Well, let me ask you this question. Are unchurched people arguing over whether or not to have Santa as part of their Christmas celebration, or do they just accept it as part of the season? Do unchurched people go to the mall to see Santa? Do unchurched people stand in long lines so that their kids can sit on Santa’s lap and have their picture taken? The answer to all of these is, YES. For this reason I think Jesus would be there too. From the information we have on Jesus’ life we can see that over and over again He sought out opportunities to be with lost people. So, I think that Jesus would visit Santa. I think He would go to the mall or other places where Santa is. I think He would go there to connect with people. I think He would go there to serve people.
We should visit Santa, too. For the same reason that Jesus sought out lost people wherever they were I think we should seek them out where they are. If this means going to the mall to connect with people waiting to see Santa, then that is what we should do. Follow your own convictions within your home, but don’t expect others, especially unchurched people to follow those convictions. Instead, meet them where they are. That’s what Jesus did.Matt Norman
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