Is the myth of Santa a riddle or a taradiddle? The contrasting stories I saw yesterday certainly paint different pictures of old St. Nick:
- Story #1: Georgia Church Posts Message Saying ‘Santa Is Satan’
- Story #2: Secret Santas in Massachusetts Pay Thousands of Dollars to Close Out All Layaway Orders at Three Toys ‘R’ Us Stores
- Story #3: Ho Ho No: School bans Santa from winter concert
- Story #4: Santa and his elves wash windows at Mission Hospital
It seems that people have different opinions of the red-suited giver of gifts. Is he the demon or the delight of December? Is he charming or harming to our children. Is he innocent folklore or a fatuous troll?
A Pew Research survey released in December of 2013 found that Santa is not just a childhood fixation:
- 69% of parents with at least one child under age 18 said they planned to pretend that old St. Nick would visit their house on Christmas Eve.
- 22% of parents who don’t have kids that believe in Santa still expected to participate by gift-giving in Santa’s name.
- 11% of people who don’t celebrate Christmas still planned to get a visit from Santa.
Frank Riga, emeritus professor of English at Canisius College, says the myth of Santa Claus can enhance creativity and imagination in children.
Our focus needs to be on more than Santa and enhancing creativity and imagination. A new survey (Pew Research) suggests that most Americans report a belief in the biblical Christmas story as historical events that actually occurred. Nearly 75% of Americans believe:
- Jesus Christ was born of a virgin
- Angels appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus
- Wise men were guided by a star and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus
- 80% of the adults in the USA believe the newborn baby Jesus was laid in a manger.
What will be your main focus this Christmas season? Will it be the red-suited Claus or the angelic clause?
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12