In the ministry of John the Baptist there is this amazing scene where John steps aside and announces that he must decrease, and that Jesus the Messiah must now increase. This scene has proven to be a great reminder to Christians throughout the history of the Church that Jesus is the Centerpiece of our lives and faith, and that anything or anyone that begins to detract from this singular focus on God is clearly in the wrong. We find this lesson again with Jesus’ teaching that we can only serve one master. Yet, despite these moments and others, we find many things that take “centerstage” and try to “upstage” Jesus. Note that I said “try to”. Now to the point.
Lately I have read much about “defending Christmas” and the like. However, it always seems that the point is missed. While Jesus is lauded as the Expected Prince of Peace by a few, Santa is heralded as “Father Christmas”! Let me make one quick point before I go any further. I don’t hate Santa, I don’t hate make believe, and I’m not really a grinch/Scrooge. The thing that I find odd is that St. Nicholas would never have put himself in the spotlight to the degree of his fictitious self. Jesus was his focus and center, yet now, through much misguided tradition, Santa is the star of the show.
This is without a doubt the biggest reason I have to say goodbye to Santa. His memory is marred by the ridiculous, and his faith in Christ is not to be seen or heard. The reality is that the continued heralding of Kris Kringle by Christians will prevent the “reason for the Season”, the birth of our Lord and Savior, from shining through. People will only ever hear about Santa and his reindeer if we don’t put Christ first. You may not believe me, but I ask you this: Who dominates your yard and house in this time of year? Is it Santa or Jesus? Perhaps some will be able to keep Santa in his place and spread the tidings of the celebration of Christ the new born King, but evidence tells me that just as John had to decrease so must Santa. If we want to keep Christ in Christmas, then we must lift up His name, not that of a fictitious man in a red sleigh that uses magic to sneak into people’s houses. Let us let people know of the One who really does know when you are sleeping, and when you are awake, the One that not only watches us, but beckons us to see what a full and joyous life really is supposed to look like.