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Demigod or Harmless Religious Icon?

Scarlet Windsor

People across the world have long questioned the existence of this man. Also in question is his significance and role in people's lives. In this article, I am not speaking of some religious icon such as Buddha, Jesus Christ, or Mohammed, or any other spiritual entity, but the one, the only, Santa Claus (A.K.A. Kris Kringle, Papa Noel, St. Nick, etc). No matter what people what refer to him as, his impact on world customs is significant.

In many ways, Santa Claus is much like a religious figure. Although, Santa shares Christmas with Jesus Christ, in many minds Santa outshines Jesus during the holiday season. This is evident in the way most people celebrate the holiday. You may not find a Nativity in every person's home, but you're very likely to find a stocking on December 24. Another example is the ferocious sport of Christmas shopping. This disgusting spectacle is not for the faint of heart. Two years ago when parents fought tooth and nail over the heavily sought after, Tickle Me Elmo doll, the display certainly had nothing to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and everything to do with Santa. Furthermore, focusing on the Santa Claus aspect of the holiday creates less alienation for Jews and other non-Christians when marketing Christmas programs than focusing in on the religious icon, Jesus Christ. The cold fact remains that Santa sells while the Son of God does not.

Think about all those milk and cookies children leave for their revered savior. That seems a great deal like a religious offering to me. Are these children attempting to appease their hero, or are they thanking him for all he has blessed him with? Also keep in mind the way that children act during the year just to get toys from Santa Claus. If these children had as much faith in Jesus Christ as they did Kris Kringle they would merely pray for the gifts they desired rather than waste time and energy writing to Santa. This would make the common parent warning "You better be good this year or Santa won't bring you anything," obsolete. Finding examples of the messiah-like worship of Santa Claus isn't difficult. For example, try inserting Jesus in a song about Santa. Here's an example. "You better be watch out/ You better not cry/ You better not pout/ I'm telling you why/ Jesus Christ is coming to town/ He's making a list/ He's checking it twice/ Gonna find out/ Who's been naughty and nice/ Jesus Christ is coming to town." That simple lyrical change has changed "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" from being a simple Christmas carol to a parable of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

So what does all this mean? When celebrating this holiday, try to keep in mind the reason for the season. Christmas is truly intended to celebrate the birth of Christ. The image of Santa Claus tends to stain Christmas with hypocrisy. However, over the years people have adopted many ways to celebrate it, from mistletoe to tacky light displays. These can be fun as long as you don't overlook the true meaning of the holiday. And for all you Scrooges out there, who renounce the existence of Santa because you've never seen him, I ask if you believe in God. I seriously doubt you have ever seen Him, either. Faith and hope are what the Christmas spirit is all about and both Jesus and Santa can share this message. In conclusion, I present you with a word of caution. Those simple five letters that make up the Santa's name can easily be rearranged to spell out the name of another creature, Jesus' most bitter foe, aside from Santa himself. Something to keep in mind the next time you let this mysterious stranger wander into your house through your chimney and consort with your children.

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