Many Catholics lament that Christ seems to have become lost in the secularization of Christmas. From Christmas trees to Santa and his Reindeer, where is the true reason for the season?
Did you know that the idea of Santa actually comes from a Catholic Saint (St. Nicholas) Who was noted for giving gifts to needy children?
When I was a child Christmas was a fairly big deal. Being Santa was actually a family tradition; my grandfather and father both portrayed St. Nick during the Christmas season. For the first time, I am actually wearing the Red Suit this year.
Immediately after Thanksgiving, dad would break out his Christmas 8-track tapes, playing everything from “Silver Bells” to the Chipmunk’s song “Christmas Don’t Be Late.” It seemed like we had Christmas Carols playing for months, Christmas lights covered our home-inside and out, second only to Clark Griswold. And my mom always created the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree with home-crafted ornaments.
As children, we never missed a clay-mation or animated Christmas special. I loved Christmas time. And I loved Santa Clause.
My sisters and I learned at an early age that the true meaning of Christmas actually centered on the birth of Jesus Christ, and that he entered into the human experience for the salvation of the world. For us, there were always two parts of Christmas We knew to be true: Santa Clause and Jesus Christ. What wasn’t so clear was how I could reconcile both. If I like Santa so much (and I really love Santa), did that diminish my love for Jesus?
It wasn’t until I was a young adult that it all became evident. In a Christian bookstore I came across a book, “I Believe in Santa Claus” by Diane G. Adamson, mapping out – in beautiful watercolor – the connection between Santa Clause and Jesus Christ. This story places emphasis on the symbols of Christmas, like the candy cane, star and wreath. Adamson reminds us of the correlation between each Christmas symbol and it’s relation to our Savior, and just how alike Santa Clause and Jesus Christ really are. The book concludes, “Santa Clause is a symbol of Christmas…The symbols of Christmas remind me of Christ. So, I believe in Santa Claus.”
As it was when I was a child, Christmas is still a big deal in my home. A beautiful wreath hangs on our front door, reminding us of an Eternal love with no beginning and no end. Our Christmas tree, decorated with bright lights and even a few of moms homemade ornaments, points heavenward, reminding us of the Savior’s sacrifice for all. Christmas lights on our home remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. From nativity displays to crosses, symbols of Christ are everywhere.
Each morning during the season, our children opened a new door on their chocolate advent calendar, eagerly counting down to Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa’s visit. Last year we even began teaching our own grandchildren about the Christian symbolism of Santa Claus. Thus the family tradition continues keeping the Christmas Spirit alive for the next generation; Santa Clause wears red as a reminder of Christ’s blood shed on the cross, He comes in the night, shining the light of love in the darkness, He brings gifts and hopes that we may be good and reconciled with God, Santa is the spirit of Christmas giving, happiness,
Scripture tells us that we are to love both God and Neighbor. In honor of God’s ultimate gift, we express our love for others during this time of the year.