So I know this isn’t new ground or anything, but now that another Christmas has passed, I’ve been reflecting on the concept of Santa Claus. If I were to have children (I mean to say if I were to raise children. I’ve probably had loads of children, but they aren’t my problem) I definitely wouldn’t raise them to believe in Santa Claus. I couldn’t imagine lying to my kids. Except in the way that Calvin’s dad lies to him, for my own personal amusement because kids are so stupid and impressionable. But I definitely wouldn’t lie to them about Santa Claus. It seems exceedingly cruel. Think about how disappointed you were when you found out Santa Claus was a big hoax.
But whatever. I’m not going to have (raise) kids anytime soon, so it’s not something I need to worry about. But after being bombarded by an overabundance of Christmas spirit this year in supposedly atheist China, I can’t help but wonder why in the world god-fearing Christians would ever tell their children there’s a Santa Claus.
First of all, I’m looking over the commandments right now. It turns out that not one, but two of the commandments are about having false gods. And not just any two, but the first two. I’d say God thought it was pretty important not to have any other gods.
Here, read them for yourself:
1. You must not have any other god but me.
2. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
Now I’m not the smartest light bulb in the deck, but it seems to me that teaching your kids that there’s a benevolent, omniscient, magical, possibly immortal, old bearded man living far to the North who can fly and be in multiple places at once is about as close to creating a god-like figure as you can get. What am I missing? Santa Claus is clearly violating two of the commandments. And the Lord your God is a jealous God, and he’s going to punish you and your future offspring to the fourth generation.
Moreover, I bet if you asked your kids who they’d prefer to be real, Santa Claus or God, most of them would say Santa Claus*
*More evidence of how stupid kids are. Trading one day of presents for a chance of eternal happiness in heaven. Stupid children.
Secondly, if you want your kids to grow up to be Christians rather than heathens, why would you set such a bad precedent with Santa Claus.
“Wait, so your saying that there’s no Santa Claus?”
“Nope. We were just kidding around. It was awfully funny to see you believing that there was a jolly fat man who kept tabs on whether you were good or bad and gave you presents accordingly. Hilarious, really. But buck up! It was all in good fun.”
“Wait, so there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy either?”
“Ha ha, more lies. We really got you good.”
“And so there’s no God either?”
“No, he’s real. Now shut up and get dressed for Church.”
When you think about it, teaching children about Santa Claus in a Christian society has got to be the stupidest, least thought out ritual in the history of Western Civilization. If you are Christian, do your church–and your immortal soul–a favor and stop telling kids there’s a Santa Claus.
Besides, Christmas is ostensibly supposed to be a religious holiday, and Christianity is supposed to be about setting aside material things for your spiritual well-being. Instead, Christmas is the single most commercial holiday of the year. That’s why it’s become so popular in China. It’s time to give up on all the glitz and razzamatazz and get back to the true meaning of Christmas.