It’s that time of year again, when we get out the Christmas trees, hang the stockings, and leave out biscuits and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve (not to forget the carrots for the reindeer). But this time of year also can be difficult for some Christian parents, who feel keenly the tension between the Santa story and the Jesus narrative.
One of those parents is Simon Camilleri, who has always had a lot of issues with Santa.
“I think Santa is a bit of a distraction from the reason for the season – Jesus.” – Simon Camilleri
“We don’t like the idea of lying to our kids,” says Camilleri about what can be stirred up in his home, by the topic of Santa. “And we are trying to teach them the truth about God. We don’t want to confuse them.
“And I think Santa is a bit of a distraction from the reason for the season – Jesus.”
So he did something about it. In 2013, he wrote a poem entitled When Santa Learned the Gospel, which he published on his blog. “I thought it would be fun to write an imaginary story of Santa reflecting on the gospel and contrasting it with his own message and philosophy,” Camilleri told Eternity.
“…at Christmas we want people to think about Jesus and grapple with Jesus.” – Simon Camilleri
“One of the things I like about this story is that it doesn’t embrace Santa or promote him, but it basically shows Santa mercy. It gives him the opportunity to become self-reflective.”
In the book, Santa goes on his own spiritual journey, reflecting on the differences between his own message (good people get rewarded, bad people get punished, and that most people are good enough) and the gospel message.
“Hopefully that means people who haven’t grappled with the gospel may go on the same journey themselves, reflecting on what they believe about goodness, themselves and Jesus,” says Camilleri.
“We are not against play or imagination, but at Christmas we want people to think about Jesus and grapple with Jesus, and we want kids to grapple with the idea of a God that they cannot see.
“This book is not really about introducing kids to Santa or destroying Santa; it’s about using the mythology of Santa to hopefully connect with the gospel itself.”More