A few Sundays back, our pastor had what I’d like to refer to as a “mic drop moment” without his intention. Yes, he’s calculated in his sermon delivery as well as researched. But every now and then I sense a comment in him that comes off the cuff. In essence, he blurts out what he’s really thinking about a subject. I find this refreshing and genuine. However, there is the distinct possibility that when people make themselves open and vulnerable by offering the crude truth, others may not understand it in context.
Pastor Josh was walking us through the build up surrounding Christ’s birth. And nearly finished with his sermon, he said in no uncertain terms, and I quote, “I think the Santa thing is the biggest hoax in the world. That we would take this, (he chuckles slightly) this incredible message, this incredible story, this incredible history of God coming to Earth, God Himself, to save us from our sins, and we would replace it with this fairytale of a lie…”
I’m growing to know, respect, and love Josh more and more all the time. He was filled with Christ’s spirit while preaching, he got to the point in his sermon, and blurted out what was on his mind, by offering the statement about the Santa nonsense. Then he quickly headed into extrapolation, including a quick chuckle, and then finished. I’m willing to bet money, that he didn’t practice his sermon that way, and it may not have even been included. But it was on his heart, and he offered it.
Now… There runs the risk of children in the pews that might have actually been paying attention. LOL… While rare, it does happen. 😉 So, that inspired me to work up a Sunday School lesson based on the Santa, Easter Bunny, and other questions and decipher whether they held merit or not.
I basically came up with a series of questions to research and respond to my class brothers and sisters. The focus of Christmas and Easter is for that of Christ, yes? Does Santa or the Easter Bunny actually visit your home? No. Intertwining either of those mythical creatures in a biblical fashion is tantamount to a lie, right? Yes. From a biblical perspective then, any focus on those in the church is a distraction from the Gospel, right? Yes. If we agree that the Santa story and the Easter Bunny are both lies, does it stop there? No. Why, because there are a series of supports that must be told in order for the jolly fat guy to exist. Flying reindeer, elves making toys, stockings fills with toys, etc. are all supporting bits of nonsense necessary to sell the lie to kids.
Some of the lies take on tremendous life. Go research things like Pedro el Negro and Krampus. These are pretty wild tails.
I read somewhere we aren’t supposed to lie. Here are a few I snagged, but there are dozens, maybe hundreds more in the Bible. I seem to recall the 8th commandment had something to say about lies…
- Proverbs 6:16-19
- Proverbs 12:22
- Proverbs 19:9
- Psalm 101:7
- Colossian 3:9-10
- John 8:44
- Ephesians 4:25
- Leviticus 19:11
We must ask ourselves if there is anything AT ALL uniquely Christian about the Santa or Easter Bunny stories? And the answer is a resounding NO. Every parent will tell you that their children lie. They’ll also express to you how maddening and disappointing it was for their children to lie to them. What are we promoting with this long-term con upon our children? It sure isn’t truth, I can tell you that. We’re busy telling, informing, in fact, begging, our kids to tell the truth and we’re punishing lies. But we teach them how to do it. And why? For the American sense of consumerism?
“If you don’t behave, Elf on the Shelf will report back to Santa and you won’t get presents on Christmas morning.”-most parents
What did you really say when you blurted out the quote above? Let me rephrase it for you. “If you don’t behave in the ways the Lord expects, a polyester fairy tale puppet will speak telepathically to a mythical chubby guy that doesn’t exist, and your mom and I will save a few bucks buying you toys you’ll be tired of in nearly one minute and seventeen seconds after you tear the wrapping open.” If that isn’t enough think about the implications of what is taught in terms of the psyche… We’re teaching our kids that there is another thing besides God that is omniscient and omnipresent. We’re teaching them that you have to be good to get ‘things’ above all. We’re also teaching them that if you don’t have ‘things’ that you’re lesser. I’m not sure what could be more contrary to Christ than thinking like this. Wasn’t the 9th Commandment to not covet??? Emphasis on material things is a lousy way to live and certainly shouldn’t be taught to children. In case you were wondering about that, try these:
- Matthew 6:19-21
- Luke 12:15
- Luke 12:33-34
- 1 Timothy 6:10
- 1 John 2:16
I loved the traditions associated with Christmas and my wife and I perpetuated them with our kids. We did it for the happiness shared in the family and the experiences with the kids. But we ended up doing them a disservice in the end, and we’re not going to push the mythical portions forward in the future. Yes, there are many aspects of Christmastime tradition we can enjoy and participate with all while fully embracing the celebration of Jesus’ birth. (Don’t get me started on the fact December 25th isn’t actually the birth date of Christ or this blog will take hours to read…) We’ll simply remove the lies, the myth, and the distractions from Him. I wish I’d thought about this sooner in life.
Be salt and light my friends, especially to your children.