Santa and I have an on-again, off-again relationship. It’s not that I dislike him or what he stands for, it’s just that I find myself so easily loving him while giving lip-service to Jesus around Christmas-time. Because really… who doesn’t love getting stuff? I do, and you probably do too.
But for the last week or so I’ve really been thinking about Santa. Not in a typical “Santa vs. Jesus” type of way, but in a totally new way for me – I’ve been thinking about how Santa can actually teach me something about God.
Santa teaches me that God is just. Santa has a “nice” list and a “naughty” list (presumedly, not just so parents can bribe their kids into obedience). Nice and Naughty really do exist. Some thoughts and behaviors really are good, and some really are bad. God has instructed us how to live, and he’s made that known through the Bible and through nature in a general way. Really, if we’re honest with yourself, which list do you truly belong on? If I’m on the “nice list,” it’s only because my righteousness comes from Christ, not from my own nice-ness.
Santa teaches me that God knows me intimately. He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good… it sounds a bit creepy, doesn’t it? BUT, it means that he’s watching me and he knows me. Even when I think I’m doing something in secret, I’m not. Even when I think I’ve gotten away with something, I haven’t. I don’t like that. Isn’t this why we have “privacy settings” and control what we make public knowledge and what we keep to ourselves? God knows me completely, even the rapidly decreasing number of hairs on my head… and he still chose to love me and adopt me as his child. I am fully known, and fully accepted.
Santa teaches me that God is generous. Santa is a giver. But no one outgives God. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
In the midst of all the talk and chatter about Santa vs. Jesus, I’m trying to train myself to see Santa as a shadow and a longing for Jesus. Santa can serve as a shadow, pointing us to the fullness of God in Jesus Christ. Of course, Santa can also overshadow Jesus when we make him an idol and love “stuff” more than the Maker.
What do you think? Am I off my rocker? Am I just thinking too hard? Or, am I on to something here? And if I’m on to something… what are some other ways that Santa can serve as a shadow pointing us to God?