Will the Real Santa Clause Please Stand Up

By Jonathan Holmes

The other day I learned that we are not allowed to “celebrate Santa Clause” at my school. Why? Because he isn’t real. That’s a bad argument, if you ask me. Why? Because he is very real.

Yes, Santa Clause is real. Oh, you would rather tell them of the generosity of St. Nicholas? Then don’t forget to tell them how St. Nicholas at one time punched Arius—a heretic from the ancient church—right in the nose. Now that’s generosity! If we aren’t going to lie to our children about Santa Clause or St. Nick, then we must tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I’m trying to figure out what is wrong with Santa Clause. Yes, he’s make-believe, but what’s wrong with that when another word for make-believe is imagination? I’m one who subscribes to the fact that we aren’t letting our children use their imagination enough. Because if we follow the argument to its ultimate conclusion, then we shouldn’t be letting our children reading or writing fiction. To have an imagination helps you believe what is real in the end. (See my previous post entitled “The Superhero as Contemporary Mythos” for my argument towards the greatness of the imagination.)

There’s nothing wrong with Santa Clause. In fact, our very own very own venerated saint—the holy St. Dr. Martin Luther of blessed memory—says it’s ok. Yes, he’s fine with it. Why? Google “Christkind” and tell me what you find – you can also look up “Christkindl.” Either one should work. Go ahead, search right now (Insert dramatic pause hold music). What? Christkind = Christkindl = Chris Kringle? This doesn’t make any sense. My whole being and life has come shattering down! What ever shall I do?

Point in fact, Martin Luther helped feed the idea that would eventually become Santa Clause. There it is! That’s right, Martin Luther’s Christkind was one of the precursors to what would eventually become as we now know it today: Santa Clause. He just goes by a different name now. In fact, Martin Luther wanted to point away from St. Nick and instead made something up. It’s pretty funny when you think about it.

Children getting free gifts whether they deserved it or not? HOW ABSURD! Wait, what do you mean Jesus does the same thing? Yes, dear sinner who deserves nothing but death and coal, Jesus brings you free gifts. What are they? Forgiveness, life, and salvation—and all free, purchased by Christ for you, not with gold or silver, but by His holy, precious blood and innocent suffering and death. HA HA! There it is! Santa is a man who travels the world delivering free gifts to children of all nations, usually whether they’ve been bad or good. What’s wrong with that?

Let’s face it, we know our children don’t behave all year long. They’re little sinners running around. They don’t deserve those presents as much as we do. Because let’s also face it: You’re a little sinner running around too; you just don’t come with a leash like they do.

What’s wrong with a jolly, old, fat guy (Hey, some of us resemble that remark!) who brings free, undeserved gifts? Nothing! In fact, he points straight to Christ. Yes, we can debate until we’re blue in the face or until we’re rosy in the cheeks about discussing and proclaiming instead the Christ child in the manger. But why can’t they coexist? Santa Clause in the end is a Christ-like figure who does something wonderful and joyful for the hopeless and the downtrodden. That’s Christ. That’s real. Santa—‘nuff said.