Maybe Santa Was Designed to Glorify Jesus

Santa Clause is basically a mashup of different culture’s beliefs and Gods.

History of Santa Clause

With Saint Nicholas of Myra being the primary inspiration. St. Nick was a 4th century Greek Christian bishop of Myra in what is now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In continental Europe  he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes.

There are parallels that are drawn between Santa Clause and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples prior to their Christianization. The Dutch, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, see him, Sinterklaas, often called “De Goede Sint”—”The Good Saint” as an elderly, stately and serious man with white hair and a long, full beard. He wears a long red cape or chasuble over a traditional white bishop’s alb and sometimes red stola, dons a red mitre, and holds a gold-coloured crosier, a long ceremonial shepherd’s staff with a fancy curled top.

For the Scandinavians, in the 1840s, a being in Nordic folklore called “Tomte” or “Nisse” started to deliver the Christmas presents in Denmark. The Tomte was portrayed as a short, bearded man dressed in gray clothes and a red hat.

For Americans, Some modern ideas of Santa Claus seemingly became canon after the anonymous publication of the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (better known today as “The Night Before Christmas”) in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on December 23, 1823; the poem was later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore.  One of the first artists to define Santa Claus’s modern image was Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century. In 1863, a picture of Santa illustrated by Nast appeared in Harper’s Weekly.

(from Wikipedia and verified by other sources)

My thoughts

So we can see the evolution of one man’s good deeds becoming the subject of a story of folklore that has grown leaps and bounds from what it was primarily created from. However I find it ironic that Christians laugh at atheists getting tore up over what they think doesn’t exist while Christians get tore up in the same manner over something that doesn’t exist; a fat man in a red suit being flown around the world in one night by flying reindeer so that he can drop down your chimney to give free gifts to all the good boys and girls of the world.

But how can we see these stories of folklore actually bringing some goodness and fame to the story of Christ? Simple. The very point of  Santa’s story is be good to others, spread Christmas cheer by loving those who are less fortunate, bring joy to those who are hurting, stay off the naughty list, and don’t be a Scrooge.

This the same message that Christ preaches. Love others who are unloveable. John 13:35 – By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Could it be that the message that Santa preaches is the same message that Christ preaches?


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

2 Responses to Maybe Santa Was Designed to Glorify Jesus

  1. angeorge21 says:

    Yep! And God Loves a Cheerful giver!! WHo else but Saint Nick….both real and legend could be a better example of that! =)

  2. Pingback: Christmas 2013: Do we know who invented Santa Claus? Who really wrote the “Night Before Christmas?” | Millard Fillmore's Bathtub

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