A Christmas Concern
To avoid living like a Pharisee, I intend to set no legalistic rules on Christmas; as individual believers, our conscience should be our guide. Nonetheless, the Church should be faithful to Christ's call to come out of the world and be separate. I never feel so compromised as I do when observing the behavior of the church in many areas of concern. It is all too easy to poo-poo compromise in the name of legalism. I know the feeling I get watching The Miracle on 34th Street, but that does not change my conviction.
Present-day Christians have little sense of worldliness; worldliness is that willingness to embrace the philosophy and behavior of a world without regard for Christ or those who follow Him. The problem is this, Santa does not appear like the Greek gods with all the temperament of selfish, self-centered sinners, but he is more god-like. He is ever present, knowing if you're asleep or awake. He's omniscient as he divides the naughty from the nice. He always comes bearing gifts, at least temporal ones, not eternal life. He seems to be sinless as he has not died in hundreds of years. "No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14
We are considering a national holiday where many people throughout the nation celebrate, something other than meeting at a specific location to worship with unbelievers. However, what does the message of Christians who add Santa to the Holiday say about their worship? As a nation born out of an authentic revival, The Great Awakening, Christmas has had good routes in celebrating the Son of God. At one time, Christmas was almost entirely about the birth of Christ, but for decades now, the tale of Saint Nicholas has dwarfed the true meaning and replaced Christ.
Anything, be it a career, money, possessions, or a relationship, if it replaces God, it is an idol. The believer understands the true God and worships Him, and he is to worship Him alone. God hates believers and nonbelievers worshiping together. "Or what harmony has Christ with Belial ("lord of the forest," a name of Satan.), or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" 2 Corinthians 6:15
It is not worshipping with unbelievers that concerns me here; it is our testimony to resolve to worship only Christ by the onlooking world. I'm not worshipping, is what all idolaters say.
What is heavy on my heart is how I live in the world, which according to God's word, is very dark. "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason, it says, "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:13-16
The Church is meant to be a city on a hill, not a lamp hidden under a basket with all the other worldly lamps.
At the very least, the Holiday known as Christmas is shared by two very different people. The historical Jesus Christ, confirmed by more historians than any other person, Christian and pagan alike, and the fictional Santa Clause.
Concerning the issue of Santa Claus, it seems that there is one guiding principle in the Bible that should govern our thinking, never take the glory that belongs to God and give it to another. "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images." Isaiah 42:8.
Christian and pagan parents lie about a large magical elf, and a day of confession always follows. There should be no discussion about lying. Does the Church make an idol of Santa by celebrating his arrival? No matter what the world does, Christ to the Christian should be elevated so there is no confusion about His status in their eyes. When Jesus was next to Moses and Elijah, God's voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son; hear Him."
The 1947 Hollywood movie, The Bishop's Wife, has an angel tempted by a lovely woman but asks to be transferred far away and a Bishop tested by a building to the neglect of people. Does Santa Claus steal praise and glory that belongs to Christ alone?
Is it clear in American society that authentic Christians only and always see Jesus Christ and no one else?