A few years ago while writing my master’s thesis during Christmas-time, I had this sudden realization:

Santa = God

Does that sound blasphemous? I’m not sure, but it was one of those ideas where the more I thought about it, the more it made sense, so hear me out.

Think of the children’s songs we sing at Christmas:

“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!”

So Santa is obviously omniscient like God, and also wants us to “be good,” as we imagine God does, too. And Santa loves all children everywhere, whether they’re rich or poor, etc, again like God does. And he wants them to be happy.

And then here’s some more evidence. When we’re good, we’re rewarded with presents — the way God bestows blessings. The ones creating the presents are elves, which we might compare to angels. In fact, I really like the thought of angels “putting together” blessings by orchestrating certain coincidences.

Sometimes as a parent I have moments of doubt about Santa. I wonder if it’s right to convince my kids to believe in him. But this epiphany made me think that it absolutely is. Santa becomes a symbol — just like the evergreen tree and the lights and the candy canes and everything else about Christmas — that will hopefully help my little boys understand about God a little better.

Last night in class I talked with my students about visual rhetoric and how sometimes images and music and so on can be more convincing than words alone. Maybe the image of Santa Claus helps us understand the Word. 

Any thoughts?

Leave a comment!


2 thoughts on “Christmas Epiphany

  1. I have also had reservations about teaching my children about Santa. You’ve given me a lot to think about. The day is fast approaching when my youngest will ask me if he’s real. I like this way of expressing the good about Santa while reflecting and symbolizing the reality of God. Thanks for the thought provoking post. 🙂


    1. I do wonder at what age to switch from “real” to “symbolic.” But maybe it can be a gradual thing, like talking about sex with your kids (okay, that was a HUGE leap, I know), where you start with birds and bees and just keep tweaking the info to be more specific as they get older. I think maybe we’ll have a family discussion this year about Christmas symbols and include Santa.


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