God of Creation or "god" of Christmas?

WHO IS IT?

He is known throughout the world; he is alleged to be omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (he can be everywhere at the same time). He is said to know all our needs and gives us the gifts we need and want. He knows when children have been bad; he rewards good and punishes evil. He has many helpers.

Children sing a song each Christmas about him.

You better watch out, you better not cry;
Better not pout, I'm telling you why—
He's making a list and checking it twice;
Gonna find out who's naughty and nice—
He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good, for goodness sake!
Oh! You better watch out, you better not cry;
Better not pout, I'm telling you why—
Santa Claus is coming to town!

Of course! It's Santa Claus—that fictional being that has become the god of Christmas to many. Even many Christians see nothing wrong with letting their young children have faith in Santa Claus, that they might "enjoy" this "joyous" experience. But what does the Bible tell us about faith? Hebrews 11:6 states that "without faith it is impossible to please Him: For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." In the creation ministry, we spend a lot of time giving scientific evidence for Creation and the Flood, but, ultimately, one cannot scientifically prove the Bible—ultimately, it must be accepted by faith. The Scripture also tells us what sort of faith we need. "And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2-4).

Jesus told us we need to have simple child-like faith. And when training children, we need to take advantage of that faith in teaching truth. When parents let their children believe in Santa Claus, the simple faith of the young child accepts this deception. The child accepts by faith that Santa can see him or her through walls. Santa Claus can see and know a child's behavior, and rewards the child based on that behavior. Santa can leave presents in every home the world over in just one night. Even though the parent knows this is a myth, the mythical becomes real for the child.

As time moves on, the child begins to see flaws in this god-like person and in his parents' attempt to continue this deception. For the most part, the child doesn't mind playing the game, for he is well rewarded. Does this "game" really affect children? I know a minister in Australia who conducted a survey in a school, and one of the questions he asked was what was the cause of the students' mistrust of parents. The majority answer was "Santa Claus."

I was saddened one day to read a letter against Christianity that appeared in the "Letters to the Editor" section of a newspaper written by a man who said, "I began to mistrust my parents when I found out Santa was a myth."

What else does the Santa Claus story teach?

  1. Even though a child's behavior is not perfect, he is acceptable to Santa as is. The child knows he has not been perfect, but he remembers last year, and thus he has faith in his own goodness.
  2. No matter what Santa says or what the child does, in the end; Santa will reward him anyway.
  3. Santa spends most of the year in meaningless activity, getting presents ready.
  4. Santa keeps a record of the child's behavior. The way to be acceptable in Santa's sight and to be rewarded is to be good.

However, as the child discovers the deception his parents played on him regarding Santa Claus (and should he expect other than the truth from his parents), will he not devaluate his parents' witness to the true God? After all, who wants to make the same mistake twice? Surely the child has learned not to give credence to a way of life that demands faith.

Are not we as parents commanded to teach truth to our children? "The father to the children shall make known Thy truth" (Isaiah 38:19).

A lot of people in our culture today sadly have a "Santa Claus" understanding of God. Many believe in God—but what God? A God who will not keep them out of heaven because they think they are basically "good"? A God who may warn of heaven or hell but who will accept all men in one way or another in the end anyway? A God who does not see us as sinners needing redemption?

At this Christmas time, we need to tell our children and the world who the true God is. "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He bath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else (Isaiah 45:18).

"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:28-31).

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:1, 3).

THE TRUE GOD IS THE CREATOR

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13,14).
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" .(John 3:16).

THE TRUE GOD IS THE SAVIOR

Christians will not spoil Christmas by omitting Santa Claus. By teaching the true meaning of Christmas centered around the birthday of Jesus, parents will not only be giving the reason for Christmas, but they may use it to build the basis for the child's ability to trust God in his later life—the basis of true faith in the true God.

The story of Santa Claus is myth—it is a fairy tale. Let it stay there! Let us as Christian parents make sure that the earliest information children hear concerning an omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent being is the true story of Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things.

Cite this article: Kenneth Ham. 1990. God of Creation or "god" of Christmas?. Acts & Facts. 19 (12).

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