Over time in our increasingly secular, commercialized culture, the figure of Santa Claus has replaced Jesus Christ as the symbol of the Christmas season. In America, we have come to accept that a Christmas without Santa just isn’t Christmas.
Children highly anticipate Santa’s arrival, eagerly hoping they get what they asked for. Parents on the other hand take careful steps to let their children know that the real gift giver is Santa- not them.
Parents have been pretty much forced into accepting their hidden role in gifting to this Santa character by societal conditioning and media propaganda. This includes a constant drone of children’s Christmas programming around make believe characters like Santa and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer which grow in crescendo as Christmas day approaches.
It is all promoted as just an innocent fantasy intended as fun for the children. Surely it does have its merits by encouraging family gatherings, shared meals and perhaps even fun times at work. Then, of course, there is the coup de grace for retailers- the exchange of gifts.
Nevertheless, is Christmas really just an innocent fun season that is all in good fun? Could there perhaps be more at stake than we have come to understand? That, in fact, could be the real story of Christmas which we may not want to acknowledge and spoil the fun.
If you’d rather live with the myths and fantasies, then you may not want to read further. Then again, maybe it’s time to release your childhood and learn the truth about this commercial boondoggle. If you’re open to a little dose of truth read on.
The History Channel runs a show each year at this time called The Real Story of Christmas. You can watch it below:
While it does share some interesting twists, there are also some built in biases and background left out that are important to understand.
For example, in the “real” story we are told that “the Church” declared the feast day of the nativity on the same day as the birthday of the sun god Mithra.
While there may be some truth to the time frame, there is more behind the time chosen than is revealed by the History Channel presentation.
First of all, what the channel labels as “the Church” is actually the Roman Catholic church. This “church” is only one denomination. It does not represent all Christian churches. It represents the actions of the Roman Catholic church, not “the Church” as though it were all Christian churches.
Effectively disregarding all of the other denominations and churches, the mythology built into the Santa image shares the emphasis of the Catholic church on idolatry.
To understand why the Catholic Church chose a sun god’s birthday as the feast day of nativity, one should see how this denomination is very different from Protestant denominations.
The Roman Catholic church itself developed as a response to the growth of true Christianity based on Christ’s teachings from apostles like Paul who was responsible for roughly 70% of the non-gospel letters found in the New Testament.
Despite the fact that the Romans were doing their best to eliminate Christianity because it was perceived as a threat to the empire, the followers of Jesus continued to grow.
Consequently, Rome adopted another tactic based on the “if ya can’t beat ’em join them” philosophy. They simply created their own State sanctioned religion- the Roman Catholic church. Roman because it was Rome’s version of Christianity with a good measure of State mixed into the religion.
To appease and attract existing pagan religions, the Roman Catholic Church was created as a hybrid of Christianity and paganism. This can be seen in the pagan symbolism and practices integrated into the ceremonies.
For example, one of the most common papal hats is markedly similar to that of the Babylonian god Dagon, a fish related, fertility god. (For more on pagan symbolism and the Catholic church on YouTube click here.)
The reality is that “the Church”, as the History Channel chose to frame it, does not represent all churches as they imply. It also does not accurately reflect the Bible upon which authentic Christianity finds its basis.
The bottom line is that “the Church” of the History Channel is not the “real” representative of biblically based Christianity. Nor is it the basis for our modern conception of Christmas and its central figure Santa Claus.
The truth is that without the bible as an authoritative basis, there would be no Christian church at all.
Despite its large contingent, Catholicism is not representative of Bible based Christianity.
The video below will provide you with more background on that issue:
When the Bible began to circulate more freely among the people after the advent of the printing press the Roman Catholic dominance on the masses began to wane. Competition in the form of Bible based denomination which they labeled “protestants” arose.
About five centuries ago, the reformation arose through people like John Wycliffe and Martin Luther who began to share the insights in the Bible among the common person by expository or Bible based teaching. Bibles like the Geneva bible became more freely available to the common man.
Formerly, scripture was comprised of hand written scrolls in Latin only. It was only read by scholars. Therefore, Biblical interpretation was controlled by the Roman Catholic church. This helped secure the State sponsored religion of the Roman empire because few ordinary people actually read the bible.
Illiteracy of the Latin language forced the common person to rely upon the clergy for its interpretation. This gave the Catholic church free reign to determine acceptable “Christian” practices and the way to salvation. It also solidly secured Roman Catholic authority.
Bibles began to become more available through the advent of the printing press. Additionally, people like John Wycliffe and Martin Luther translated the bible from Hebrew and Greek into the language of the common people like German and English etc.
As the new and more accurate translations spread among the people, believers starting reading the bible themselves. With the guidance of reformists like Luther and Calvin etc., people began to realize how the Catholic church manipulated them with their versions and requirements. People turned to the Bible as the authoritative word of God not Papal authority.
They began to reject the authority of the Catholic church’s teachings. Glaring non-biblical deficiencies being promoted as Christianity by the Roman Catholic church were revealed.
Non-biblical deficiencies such as statues of saints, scapulas, even rosaries which were all forms of idolatry clearly forbidden in the bible, were made clear.
More threatening to the Papal dominance however was the lack of biblical authority for the practice of “indulgences” by which one could buy their way into heaven- the sale of which contributed steadily to the Catholic coffers and wealth.
Ordinary people began to see through the lies of the Papal dominance and lose confidence in the Roman Catholic church. This led to the rise and growth of “Protestant” denominations and churches. (Protestant because they protested against papal authority substituting biblical authority in its place.)
This contrast of Christian denominations, one a hybrid mixture of pagan beliefs and one with its roots in the bible alone leads to a pretty large set of differences in what today is labeled as “The Church” referenced in the History Channel.
At best, it is an arbitrary designation, with one based in the Bible (Protestant denominations- with wide variance as well) and the other based in the authority of the leaders of the denomination (Roman Catholicism). Hence, it is hardly accurate to label Christmas as arising from “the Church”. It rather more accurately should be labeled as arising from Roman Catholicism.
Now let’s move on to examine the central star of the current Christmas season in more depth.
It is generally believed that the Santa Claus character morphed out of St. Nicholas, the Greek bishop of Myra. (Twas the Night Before Christmas poem popularized this reference). St. Nicholas however, was known as a defender of Christianity. This is not very Santa like.
After all, Santa has nothing to do with Christianity these days. Consequently, St. Nicholas in the form of the Greek bishop, is not the best reference for the modern mythological character of Santa Claus.
However, St. Nicholas was also commonly linked to Odin, the ruler of Asgard, a major Germanic god. This link added some Santa traits, as we have come to know and love him, to the personality of good old St. Nick.
Odin, flew around the heavens at the time of the winter solstice (known as Yule in case you wondered where that Christmas reference comes from). Odin was depicted as a white bearded man with magical powers. One can see how this St. Nick character is beginning to round out.
Odin also rode an 8 legged horse (Sleipnir) who could leap great distances (like reindeer). He was also feared because his judgments would determine prosperity or death in the coming year. Children would leave their boots by the chimney filled with carrots and hay for Sleipnir. Odin would leave sweets and fruits in return for the children.
Another winter connection from Germanic legend is Frau Holda, the Germanic goddess of winter. In German folk legends, she is depicted as a beautiful blonde who is the protector of children’s souls.
Like Odin, Frau Holda would fly through the night and give gifts to children, as Beliefnet.com noted. In some depictions, Holda is dressed in red and uses chimneys to deliver gifts. Some Germanic traditions involve leaving food and milk for Holda on Dec. 24, known as Mother Night.
Now you can really see the modern Santa Claus legend as his inner powers develop:
Pagan Gods sure have contributed a lot more to the Santa mythology than the Greek bishop, St. Nicholas.
Here’s the truth about what Santa has become to us today. Yes, he has all of the characteristics of the pagan gods above. However, he has morphed even beyond those traits.
Truth be told, Christmas is hardly a celebration of the birth of Christ, i.e. derived from Christ’s Mass. Christ has been pretty much placed on the back burner.
Rather than the “reason for the season”, the birth of Christ is well back in second place to gift giving and getting which has become the cultural and commercial priority in our secular humanist culture.
Christmas has become a consumer holiday with barely a mention of Christ these days.
Hardly a time of spiritual celebration but rather an emphasis instead of materialism. Strictly commercial oriented entities even use an X in front of the “mas” to pretty much tell you what some intend to do with the Christ connection to this holiday.
The words of the song- Santa Claus is Coming to Town tell us more:
He’s making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
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!
Like the God of the Bible (and Odin) Santa is judging us on his moral standards. He will also punish us or reward us like a supernatural being, not our parents.
Like the God of the Bible, Santa is all-knowing and observes everything. (Also like the Elf on the Shelf that I covered in another post.)
However, you aren’t encouraged to be good to meet God’s standards and perhaps His grace. Rather you are “good for goodness sake” whatever that means.
No biblical standards or commandments to live up to, simply a nebulous and arbitrary “goodness” to be good for- whatever “goodness” happens to represent these days.
In actuality, Santa is quite clearly the secular replacement for the Christian God of the bible.
There is a big problem however with that interpretation however. The naturalistic worldview is the basis of the evolutionist.
The problem with that paradigm is that when you actually take the evolutionary model and analyze its assumptions, you find paltry empirical evidence, at best, to support its claims.
Very similar to Santa Claus in fact. You accept Santa on faith which you eventually discover to be a fraud. If you actually take the time to examine the assumptions of evolution scientifically you will come to discover that it too, like Santa Claus is all faith based as well and a fraud to match. If you need some resources on that assertion let me know. There are many available these days.
One of the major battles in the war for our minds involves jettisoning a personal God and replacing this relationship with the secular humanist God of the State (The Marxist Communist Model). Godless evolutionism fits into this model as well which is why Karl Marx embraced it as the biological compliment to the political ideology of Communism.
Surprisingly, Jolly Old St. Nick, while sold as innocent fun for the kids, is a weapon in this war. One may be a bit disappointed and perhaps even angry at the suggestion that one of our most cherished figures for children is a secular weapon intended to ultimately harvest willing minds, but it serves that purpose quite effectively.
Read the Communist Manifesto’s intention on what ought to happen to the family. If you shelve your emotions for a moment, perhaps you’ll see how Jolly Old St. Nick aids the Manifesto cause of the break up of the family unit replaced by loyalty to the authority of the State. Let’s explore this possibility a bit further.
You may consider this a bit of a stretch but perhaps less than you may think.
This whole Santa thing places parents in a compromising position. By accepting your role in the Santa mythology, you are allowing yourselves to be participants in a lie.
I’m not casting blame. I was also very much into promoting the Santa mythology when I had young children. It doesn’t feel comfortable to me now however.
The fact is, it is very easy to get funneled into this agenda. When we do, we sacrifice any sense of the real “reason for the season” as well as our authority.
Perhaps, as we watch our young people drift into secular hell, it is high time to develop a new awareness?
When your children discover the Santa lie, as they inevitably will, how do you think it makes them feel about the integrity of their parents? You may cast it aside as, it didn’t hurt me. But it certainly does not contribute to our credibility as an authority figure with our children. In fact, we end up looking a bit foolish.
By analogy, hasn’t the discovery of lies from our accepted government officials led to a mistrust of our government as a whole? Lies, when discovered, undermine credibility leading to mistrust.
Could this be a contributing factor as to why our children do not listen to us when they get older? I don’t think we can claim that it helps.
With parents compromised as the authority, are our children now open to having a new authority stand in our place- like that leftist teacher pushing loyalty to the State perhaps?
Can this also help to undermine the family unit as Marx and Engels wrote about in the Communist Manifesto?
These may seem like subtleties that would have no impact. However, the Santa story is a pretty powerful mythology that is strongly reinforced in our current secular culture.
Children, in turn, place a lot of faith in their parents. Then, they discover that you have been lying to them.
Not a good power point in the trust resume of parents as an authority figure- one could say.
I don’t want to come off as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol here. I share gifts at Christmas time too.
However, may I suggest that we be honest with our children for starters?
If you participate in the Santa deception while it may seem like innocent fun, you place yourself as a parent in a position of compromise later on when the real truth surfaces as it inevitably will.
After all, who ends up with egg on their face when your children discover the truth about Santa for themselves as you know they will?
Is this really the position you want to place yourself in with your children?
Wouldn’t you rather provide a model of truth and encourage them to trust your judgement and moral integrity instead?
Why not simply tell your children the truth about the Santa mythology?
For example, when they see him, let them know he is simply a person dressed up in a red suit.
That way when they see him again in another store (and you know they will), it will reinforce your truth.
You can honestly tell them, “Oh, look there’s another man dressed up in a red suit.”
Why not explain to them what Christmas is really supposed to be about? Christmas could actually be a very powerful time to share the deeper meaning of a Christmas story that grows in depth and meaning over time, rather than the opposite.
The Santa character is actually a bit intimidating to a small child. They oftentimes don’t actually like him and his big white beard when they first meet him. We spend our time cultivating this mythology and often have to convince them to like this character.
Gift giving doesn’t all have to be from Santa you know. After all, was not the birth of Jesus celebrated by the wise men with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh? Gift giving can be celebrated as being related to the birth of baby Jesus if you wish, not the Santa Claus deception.
You don’t have to give that part of the holiday up. Just choose a more meaningful and original frame. You can probably also relate other decorative aspects to the Christmas story as well with some thought and imagination.
The point is, giving up Santa (which they will give up at some point in time anyway) does not have to mean giving up Christmas.
A Christian oriented celebration of the season can be a really enriching experience of this season, not a cultural deprivation but rather a cultural enrichment. (Really now, how enriching is it to run around depleting your wallet anyway?)
Just remember what really is at stake here– your integrity as a parent in the eyes of your children. Give some thought to this because it is ultimately your integrity with your children that is at stake.
We all know how our present media driven culture is stacked against us to step outside the Santa Claus mythology. Commercial entities have made their stake in the game clear by replacing the name of Christ with an “X” as previously noted. Will you do the same or trod upon The Road Not Taken, as Robert Frost put it……and “make all the difference”?
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope yours and your children’s is one filled with the real meaning of Christmas which extends well beyond the 25th of December and provides a gift that keeps on giving as a bonus.
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