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« Carols with Justice | Main | Metanoia Newsletter, November 2012 »

The Gospel of Santa Claus or The Song of St. Nicholas?

Through the years in North America, the Santa Claus Myth has been almost completely reduced to an advertising gimmick. The Myth has so deteriorated that it is no longer a “cute” tradition; it can be harmful to children. It is easier to teach the Gospel of Santa Claus than it is to teach the Gospel of Christ.

Santa Claus plays right into the hands of human weakness and desire: the tendency toward greed. Children are no exception to this weakness. The Santa Claus indoctrination in its present form is a powerful attitude influencer that works contrary to the meaning of Christ’s coming. The comparison below is a serious effort at highlighting the differences in the two Advent-Christmas Gospels:

Gospel of Santa Claus

The good news of Santa Claus is for the affluent. 
Santa’s mission is mainly to the healthy and successful. 
The Heralds of Santa Claus proclaim self-satisfaction. 
Pleasure is a dominant theme of Santa Claus. 
There is no room for self-denial and the cross. 
To stimulate business, “Let him who has a coat, get another.” 
Blessed are the wealthy… 
Blessed are the powerful… 
Blessed are the comfortable… 
Blessed are the satisfied… 
Love your own… 
Love your friends… 
Befriend the full, 
the well-dressed, 
the healthy, 
the well-housed, 
the respectable, 
He comes that they may have things even more abundantly.

A Better Way

St. Nicholas, from whom St. Nick/Santa Claus got his name, is a model of generosity.

Here are some program materials for people who want to deal with the Santa Claus/St. Nick problem, such as Good-bye Santa! Hello, Saint Nick! The Song of St. Nicholas.

(To the tune of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”)

1. Once upon a long ago 
Very far away, 
In the town of Bethlehem 
Lying in some hay, 
Jesus came for you and me 
Bringing heaven’s love 
As a gift for us to have 
From the Lord above. 

2. In the town of Myra once 
Also long ago, 
Lived good Bishop Nicholas 
Hair as white as snow. 
Nicholas loved Jesus who 
Loved and helped us all. 
“I will do the same,” said he 
“Helping great and small.” 

3. Thankful Bishop Nicholas 
Friendly, good and wise; 
When he could helped the poor 
Always by surprise. 
Rich men came to Nicholas 
Bringing wealth to share 
So it could be sent to those 
Living in despair. 

4. We should be like Nicholas 
Thankful, good and kind, 
Loving those who need our help 
All the ones we find. 
Jesus and Saint Nicholas 
Taught us how to give: 
Share but never seek rewards, 
That is how to live!

—Mike Sherer 

Jubilee focuses on simple celebrations during times of preparation, like Advent.

Advent Conspiracy also focuses on service instead of stuff.

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