Reflections on Christmas and Santa

I've been thinking about Christmas and the "true spirit" of Christmas. Firstly it puzzles me that Christians continue to fight for a return to the "true spirit" of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ saviour of the world) when it feels like it's lost cause in the secular world and among my friends*. The "true spirit" seems well lost to materialism, family and parties. Perhaps as Mikey put it a while back;

Rather than fighting some silly rear-guard action trying to make people care about the spiritual significance of Christmas, and consequently ruining Christmas day with a church service... why not instead just use the time to love your family, write cards to distant relatives and eat a nice meal?
Perhaps I have this attitude because I'm a product of my generation.

My second reflection was to do with Santa. I'm a bit "whatever" when it comes to Santa. I don't understand why people get either all anti Santa or all pro Santa. My parents told me that Santa wasn't real from a very early age but encouraged us to pretend. We used to get right into it every Christmas and write letters. Mum would always write us letters back from Santa. It was great fun, like an awesome family in joke.

Unfortunately when we got to school we may have spoiled the idea of Santa for a few choice classmates. I remember a teacher giving me a dressing down about it which still makes me laugh. I like pretend Santa. What about you?

* I should say here I'm all for teaching my kids about Jesus at Christmas time. I just think as an evangelistic opportunity Christmas is limited or at least more limited than we're prepared to admit.



Alan said... 12/28/2008 3:31 pm  

It's your little star at the bottom that really caught my attention..

"I think as an evangelistic opportunity Christmas is limited or at least more limited than we're prepared to admit"

Personally, I think Christmas has the exactly same simple opportunity of being evangelistic in any other season, period, or individual day.
Why should Christmas have to stand up to some other unreasonable scale of evangelistic opportunity? On the day to day of evangelism, I think it deserves as much attention as every other sermon, every other service.. and that makes it just as important.

Emily said... 12/29/2008 7:07 pm  

I love Christmas Day church. You go to your childhood church (cos you're with family) and you all dress up and it's quite formal and you sing carols and shake hands with the minister on the way out and get more excited than ever about opening those presents. It's great.

The Pook said... 12/31/2008 2:27 pm  

I prefer the approach of CS Lewis to that of the various strict Presbyterian sects - and others who ban Christmas altogether. That is, make Father Christmas a friend of Jesus who points to him. That's how he appeared in our Sunday School Anniversary service puppet show.

Ruth said... 1/02/2009 10:55 pm  

I love Christmas, and this year tried to reinforce to my kids how amazing it is that God became man, cause I am truly awed by that.

I don't like the 'true spirit' stuff, because the secular world uses that phrase too - meaning - 'family'...or whatever.

I suppose the evangelistic hype around Christmas has more to do with the fact that most churches have more visitors walk through the door at that time of year - and a desire to make the most of that opportunity.

As for Santa - yeah, I could care less either way. We don't 'do Santa' with my kids, but we talk about how it's a game people play in other families. I've got more than enough to do in my fam without buying more presents to give to my kids from some fictional man - but if other people want to do that, whatever, I don't really care.....

Claire :) said... 1/16/2009 4:58 pm  

I like Santa. I like the tooth fairy, I like the Easter bunny, I like lots of those sort of things. It's all good. It needn't interfere with Christian beliefs and it's pretty cute. I think it some ways it encourages children to believe there's stuff going on that they can't see but that is awesome. Most of my most annoying atheist friends didn't have Santa at all as children, and now don't believe in anything non-empirical, having never believed it when their minds were less moulded. I think, in comparison, Santa is more good than bad for Christmas.

I think as far as evangelical opportunities go it's good to remind the people that God is someone they should think about regularly, but I sort of agree, it's no better than any other time, and severely hindered in many ways. And as Ruth said, there are secular meanings of "true meaning of Christmas" anyway.

That said, while I'm fine with the secular side, I hate that it's so secular that the fact that it was ever Christian seems to have been lost at times. I get a little offended by, say, the Bhuddist float in the Christmas pageant. I'm all about love and peace too, but like, it's my holy time, not yours.... I dunno. In WA where there's massively more people of various religions, we're all very understanding about people not doing this or that at certain times... it sort of makes me think that all Australians (that's not a racist term, I mean people working in Australia, as opposed, say, to the netherlands, where they get double this anyway!) should just be entitled to whatever 20 days + public holidays is per year, to take at a time of your choosing, rather than forcing everyone to obey the Christian holidays, so that their meaning gets lost. Sure, everyone would still take Christmas because it's family time and all that, and I'm totally cool with that. I just don't think it should be mandatory if it has no meaning to you and you're not hearing the Christian message anyway. I dunno. Just one of htose ideas.

Merry Christmas, anyway, however belatedly :)

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