Santa Claus: The Anti-Christ?

I’ll confess, my 5-year-old son, Josiah, knows all about “Santa Claus.” I wouldn’t say it’s a hallowed family tradition we’re passing on to him. He seems to already know the idea of an omnipresent fat man squeezing down every chimney in the world is a bit ridiculous. This time of year we talk of Santa with a playful wink and grin and he’s cognizant of the inherent silliness.

Santa Claus

I’m not against the idea of upholding mystery and levity early in childhood. I wouldn’t be considered puritanical in my approach to Christmas trees and giving gifts. And in the midst of the festivity: My wife and I always try to stress to our children that the birth of God’s Son is the highest purpose of the season.

But the stark juxtaposition of Santa Claus and Jesus Christ has struck a deep chord with me lately. And it has caused me to take a more cautious approach to this jolly old saint as modern culture has rendered him.

Santa is dressed in a red suit bearing toy gifts for children.

Jesus is dressed in red from his own blood bearing up his own body as God’s gift to us.

Santa only gives good gifts to good kids

God only gives the perfect gift (His Son) to bad kids. Good kids are left clinging their own filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)

Santa makes obedience a legalistic requirement for his good favor.

God through Christ gives undeserved favor that spurns obedience.

This is where I have to be careful with the precious 5 year old soul God has entrusted to me.

We’re hardwired to expect the law out of people. Even our children. You do this right for me, you get this good thing in return. You only get what you’ve earned with your good work. It’s convenient (and unbiblical) for parents to use a mystical authority figure like Santa as leverage against a child. “You’re on the naughty list and the only hope in life for good stuff is behavior modification.” But this manipulation can only last for the season.

Santa’s legalistic demands virtually flip everything I want my son to know about the gospel of grace.

If I can be frank: Santa Claus, in some ways, is the Anti-Christ.

We’re hardwired to assume God holds the law over us. In Christ, He does not. The law rightly taught reveals our naughtiness (Romans 3:20). The gospel rightly taught heals and covers all that shame and guilt (Romans 8:3-4).

That’s the beauty of the Incarnate God with us in a dirty stable.

He comes to bring a good and perfect gift.

To bad folks like me.

And my little boy.

Thankfully,

Jesus, and His Father, are the Anti Claus.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

5 thoughts on “Santa Claus: The Anti-Christ?”

  1. Yes, your comparisons are on target, however, so much of the Christmas season stems from pagan ideas as well as dates. If we eliminate Claus, perhaps we should eliminate many of the other “traditions.” Perhaps we should eliminate Christmas all together since it has nothing to do with the date of Christ’s birth. I also think that Christ would say, “It’s not Christmas that you should celebrate, but my death. That is what conquered. I’m just speaking with tongue in cheek. Isn’t it great that Christ did come? Isn’t it great that He gave up His position in Heaven to come? It could be no other way. The idea of gifts, and parties are absurd. But, we have to recognize that man will use everything to excess.
    The world will continue, but as for me and my house….
    Let’s do it right.

    John

    1. If I may say I find a greater crime in lying to children over adults, May God be my judge. Children accept stories with little quarrel or suspicion. What wisdom have men shown when even today they still propagate these hideous twists of a subtle nature in the minds of impressionable children. Surely by now the bitterness of these once young hopefuls is evidence of the damage that telling lies has caused. But niegh, these evils will continue as we are warned they would. May God alone keep you from being part of such vanity. Kind regards.

      1. My mom and dad talked of Santa. I had no longterm damage or bitterness towards them when I assumed Santa violated basic commensense at about the age of 7. Nursery rhymes talk of dragons and giant bean stalks to impressionable minds but I don’t think that means those minds are being damaged when they find out there is no such thing as dragons or giant bean stalks. The myth of modern Santa is just that, a myth. But there was a real historical Saint Nick. The excercise of sifting through what is real and what is embellished is part of growing up. Each parent must use their own wisdom for their own child’s stuation. Peace and grace.

  2. Great post! I’m not a fan of Santa and I don’t think children should be led to believe that Christmas is all about Santa and giving gifts. When my children were small I encouraged them to believe in imaginary characters, like Santa but I don’t feel it was lying to them, I believe it was helping them develop a healthy imagination. I also told them the truth about Christmas and they knew that we were celebrating the birthday of Jesus. I know the date is questionable, but it doesn’t really matter if the 25th was the actual day of his birth, it is important that we celebrate this special day. God bless!

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