There is always a discussion when you bring up whether Santa should be in a church setting or not. Whether parents should raise their children with a belief in Santa or not. People are set in their ways and are very vocal about their views often causing divisions. I want to set that aside for a moment and not talk about whether Santa should be in a church, or his belief promoted by parents. I simply want to share observations I made during a visit to a church with Santa.
This is being posted on Christmas Eve 2014. Tonight, several people will be tracking Santa via NORAD as he travels the globe. Santa will be the focus tonight.
Recently I got a chance to spend the day with “Santa”. He went to visit an Awana club that was holding their “Christmas” store so clubbers could purchase items for their parents, siblings and others using their Awana shares (bucks). While we were there, they showed us their regular Awana store. They had a great set-up with a lot of options for the children. Santa was very impressed and couldn’t wait to show it off.
Santa’s responsibility was to mingle with the clubbers as they looked for items to purchase. As Santa roamed around interacting with the children, they were all receptive of him. Yes, a few younger ones did not want to get close, but it was special for Santa to be there with them just before Christmas. By interacting with the children, Santa, someone the children knew and recognized, built relationships with the children.
At the end of the night, Santa did the large group time lesson. He spoke about belief and the very first gift of Christmas. The gift of Jesus, referencing John 3:16. Santa emphasized that the most important person to believe in was Jesus, the gift of God. Having built a relationship with the children, they were attentive to the message of the Gospel.
Santa then ended the evening by praying with the children.
In our effort to reach children, and adults, with the Gospel, we often use objects to help children understand and see God around them. Christmas is full of symbols. What I witnessed that evening was a man who is using a symbol of Christmas to point people to Jesus.
The controversy around whether or not parents and churches should “promote” Santa or not will continue every Christmas. Some right now are saying “Amen” with what they just read, some are indignant, and others stopped reading a long time ago.
We each must decide for ourselves how we address Santa in our culture today in the light of Scripture.
If you are interested in how this Santa seeks to use his role as a ministry, then I encourage you to contact him and ask.
If you would like to discuss Santa in general, please feel free to comment below.
(Note: disrespectful comments, or inappropriate comments may be deleted, but an open, respectful discussion is encouraged.)