Should Christian Families Include Santa Clause?
welcome to this episode of real Christianity my name is Dale Partridge reach week I offer 15 to 20-minute answers to tough the illogical and pastoral question this is 100% listener supported audio Ministry of relearn. Org and for those who don't know our mission a tree learn.org is to educate and equip ordinary Christians to plant biblical confessional and missional house churches for more information just visit relearn. Org forward slash house
 okay as we enter the Advent season and celebrate the birth of Christ every year we are asked by Christian families if they should include Santa Claus in their Christmas season in other words is there anything inherently sinful or at least spiritually risky to buy involving Santa Claus in your celebration guys we have a powerful show today so stay tuned for this but before we begin I just have to make one announcement and you guys know what it is it's that time of year since 2017 guys are Ministry has been sustained by your generous donation and we are coming to the close of 2020 really quick here and we've met every Financial need we've had this year but we're still falling short for our immediate needs in 2021 and our goal is to raise as you guys were probably last week $20,000
 in the month of December is now December 9th when you're listening to this and I've recording this the day before and we've raised $8,200 and so we're still in need of $11,800 by the end of the year and essentially what I'm saying is that we need your support if your regular listener to this show would you just prayerfully consider making either a one-time donation or a monthly donation to our ministry you can do that at relearn. Org forward slash donate again these are tax-deductible donations we promised to be wise stewards of your gifts as we serve the church again you can make that donation at relearn. Org forward slash donate okay question comes in from Julianne from Jackson Tennessee and she asked Pastor Dale I was raised in a Christian home and we did Santa Claus every Christmas I know or I now have three little children 6 and under
 and my husband and I have a check in our spirit about including Santa Claus and reindeer and elves in our Christmas season are we over thinking this or is this a conviction that we can back up with scripture okay thanks Julian this is a really great question and I believe it will help not just you but probably thousands of other Christian families having similar convictions and I think that you've realized an important truth tradition is a teacher and repetition helps with remind another words what we do repeatedly as a family willing grain something and do our children and the question that we need to ask ourselves is do our family traditions compliment or compete with God's truth now more specifically do your Christmas traditions compliment or compete with God's truth you guys know that this is
 a seasoned It's a Wonderful opportunity to teach your children about the gospel that's the best part about the Advent season and it's a time to explain to all people why we needed Jesus to come I why he actually came and what his life death and Resurrection means for those who believe we have an opportunity to explain to people including our children at why we sing songs like Joy to the World or O come O come Emmanuel or Go Tell It on the Mountain. That's all and so before we begin I just want to preface with with that but let's briefly talked about the difference between Christmas and Advent first and then we'll discuss the Santa Clause issue so just giving you some background information so how do we get Christmas in the year 2021 Julius Africanus identified December 25th as the birth of Jesus and within a century or two it was
 you know widely accepted by the church and if any of you know winter solstice which is December 21st for us it's the darkest day of the year and you know it's within a few days of Christmas and it's thought that Christmas may have been placed at this date to highlight Jesus as the light of the world entering into the darkest time of the year right so that's kind of again we don't know for sure but that's the thought now is it really the date of Jesus's birth is December 25th really the date of Jesus's birth most modern Scholars don't think so but that's not the point to the point of Christmas was memorialization I forgive him that my wife and I were married on February 14th that's Valentine's Day we never celebrate our anniversary on Valentine's Day. But when we do celebrate we don't care what day it is we care about memorializing our marriage another word
 break the when we celebrate the what and the why so it's not necessarily about the date in my opinion it's about the memorialization of what happened now the way that the church has celebrated Christmas historically is not how we celebrate Christmas in our modern Western culture historically Christians participated in what's called Advent in the Latin word Adventist was the translation of the Greek word parousia and that word was so that's the word that we use in scripture to explain the coming of Christ as a baby and the coming of Christ as a reigning King in his second return to this is important because historically Advent
 is not just about the baby in the manger it's also about the final return and reign of Christ over his kingdom the meaning that when we participate in Advent we shouldn't simply act as people who look back to the first coming but also is people who look forward to the second coming now there are lots of Advent books that you can get the go some of them go 25 days of them go 30 days over the Advent season for the birth of Christ and you read a certain passage or certain you know devotional for the day and talk about with your kids so there's lots of things there you guys can do we shared about it on her Instagram account a whole list of really great Advent devotional is that you can do during this time of year some by John Piper there's one by Paul Tripp and a handful of others now
 is celebrating Jesus's birth or the Advent of biblical thing no meaning that it's not in the Bible but is it an extra biblical thing yes but so is you know Resurrection Sunday or Easter and Good Friday and Reformation day right it's celebrating these days sinful know if your celebration is genuine memorialization and not I Dollar Tree then that's how it is to be great compliments to your annual family traditions and they can teach your family and they have great opportunity for tradition and repetitiveness in your home to teach your children about court rules of the Christian faith so they're very helpful if they're done right it could be very hurtful if they're done wrong so that's my preface into the Santa Claus conversation hoping that was helpful but now let's hit the Santa Claus issue cuz this is the root of your
 okay so should Christian families include Santa Claus in their Christmas or Advent celebration well I don't think so and here's why God commands his people not to lie to specifically to not bear false witness that the eighth commandment Fusions for 25 also says they're for laying aside falsehood speak truth each one of you with his neighbor for we are members of one another at a very basic level I believe teaching your children that Santa Claus has a real person who brings gifts to your home at night you know by a sleigh and reindeer on all that stuff I believe that is the very definition of lying to your children on top of that Santa Claus becomes a major distraction from the true reason for Christmas
 I believe Santa is the cultures replacement figure or counterfeit for Christ during the season secular culture has I would say even decorated Santa with Christlike characteristics and I think of the song he sees you when you're sleeping he knows when you're awake he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake right in other words it's implying that he's omniscient and that he's the judge of morality Santa is told that he's all over the world and in twenty-four hours you know he can be these places implying that he's against omnipresent Santa is implied that he's ageless in some capacity he's been around for generations and playing some sort of Eternity right Santa is implied to live in the hearts of children and that his you the realness depends on their faith in him a fact actually look up a quote from Tim Allen in the movie Santa Claus he tells
 Children of the movie scene isn't believing believing is seeing right so there's absolutely a connection with having faith in or believe in the definition of Kris Kringle which is actually the word these two words that we get from the German word Chris Kendall christkindl which implies Christ kind that's what means Christ in other words Kris Kringle is a crisis like being There's an actual connection you could Google that I found that information on Wikipedia means like right there on several different article so that's absolutely is some sort of connection here is actually goes a bit further as well and I'm not one to look too deep Beyond what's evidently clear but I'm also not too naive to believe that Satan isn't involved in the perversion of the memorialization of Christ's birth and I say that because there are some other interesting parallels between Santa and Christ now get these might be
 spiritually intentional or they may be just over analyze we're not going to ever know but they're interesting to say the least but there are several songs that point to Santa head and hair being white as snow Revelation 1:14 it describe Jesus saying his head and his hair or white like wool like snow and his eyes were like a flame of fire I we know that Santa's clothes are red right for some reason they're read in Revelation 19 13 that tells us that Jesus is closed our he's closed with a robe dipped in Blood and his name is called the word of God say Santa is is stationed in the North Pole right against his kind of creates this heavenly kind of Realm top of the earth feel Psalm 48 to even says beautiful in elevation the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion in the
 far north the city of the great king so again there's there's something interesting that there's actually handful more of these kind of weird paralytic you know reality between Christ and Santa and so many ways Santa replaces the Divine focus of the Divine character of Advent with a secular counterfeit the gift of Salvation is replaced with the entitlement of materialism the belief in Christ is replaced in believe in Santa Claus our call to personal Holiness as a response to God's saving work in our life is replaced with behavior modification to earn the favor of some gift-giving demigod okay ultimately
 what is comes down to parents that are listening here we need to be very careful not to allow our children's eyes to be diverted from Christ towards something that the last significant which is Santa Claus that's just we have to be careful here we have to realize that these things make a major difference in the development of our children thinking trust spirituality but most importantly I want to ask you a question I want you to ask yourself this question
 if I spend 10 years telling my children that Santa this man that you can't see who you who you know you must believe in and must behave for is a real person and then as they get older they find out that you were deceiving them do you expect them to not apply that experience of false witness with your claims that you've made about Jesus the other man they can't see who they must believe in and who they must behave for a kid John MacArthur actually once said in a sermon delivered in 1990 on this idea of Santa Claus is a counterfeit it's called the Christmas Intruder he said is it any wonder that if I believe all that as a if I believe all that meaning he believes all that he was talking about Santa Claus the identification and the story of Santa Claus is it any wonder that if
 I believe all that as a child when I come to being an adult I might have a hard time believing in the Transcendent God who does know everything who is everywhere who does have all power who does keep his promises and his threats and who does not save me and give me good gifts on the basis of my works but on the basis of his grace if Santa has been my understanding of a spiritual God then I'm in trouble that's why I say hidden in the letters of Santa is Satan that's a quote from John MacArthur so who's he shares obviously the same very skeptical and cautious Spirit around the idea of Santa Claus there is a clear counterfeit alternative to the culture has created that is spiritually involved in terms of the portrayal of another deity
 did we call children to believe in So my answer to this question Julian is don't be fooled and I think your conviction is absolutely right Santa Claus while it may seem fun and harmless I believe is actually quite dangerous it requires you first to lie and break down the trust between you and your children secondly it causes your child to place sacred belief in faith and trust into a false Godlike character in and third it really distract our children from the true reason for the season which is Christ so you know yes I understand a Sentimental side but I don't care how sentimental Santa Claus is for you I really believe he has nothing to do with the coming the first coming in the second coming of Christ and he
 should be removed from Christian families in there I should say Christian family tradition so hopefully that was a helpful answer answer for you Julian and as always I'm going to leave you guys with two resources that will help you further understanding for the your understanding on this topic and you can find them on the post page of this episode at we learn. Org and this episode is titled should Christian families do Santa Claus and the their two articles and they're actually both by John MacArthur and it's pretty fascinating he did a sermon early in 1990 about Santa Claus and then he did another one that he's titled which is kind of similar called the Christmas Intruder you can read the transcripts of these and I have them linked on the post page and hopefully I'll be helpful just have another perspective he goes into a much deeper discussion about this and also add
 different side of the Santa Claus discussion ask for you who are a regular listeners to the show thank you your reviews have been incredibly encouraging if you have not left a review but you've listened to several of these episodes would you just go to the podcast app and just tap the Stars you don't even need to write anything but if you do write something I will absolutely read it and I and I've been encouraged by so many of you leaving his reviews but he's refused they really do healthy exposure of the show and many people find this podcast because it has so many reviews so thank you for doing that also if you guys don't already consider following relearn. Org on Instagram or posting there on a regular basis lots of different resources lots of different Instagram stories links to different different tools and things that can help you study scripture and you can also follow me on Twitter at Dale Partridge I'm trying to put out content on a regular basis
 as well all right hopefully this episode was helpful and edifying for your walk with the Lord my name is Dale Partridge and I will see you this week
 thank you for listening to this episode of real Christianity if your regular listener to the show would you perfectly consider making a donation to support our ministry effort simply visit relearn. Org forward slash donate again that's relearn. Org forward slash donate and for those looking to explore the idea of joining or planting a church in your home you can download our free pdf ebook title the basics of biblical House Church by visiting relearn. Org for house last week do you have a theological question you would like answered on the show submit your question at relearn. Org forward slash question thanks for joining us on this episode of real Christianity we will see you next Wednesday