Years ago, while listening to some classic Christmas songs, the thought occurred to me that Santa and Jesus have a lot in common. I was listening to songs like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.” I grew up learning about Santa from songs like these and from watching classics Christmastime movies like, “Miracle on 34th Street,” and Tim Allen’s “The Santa Clause.”
The more I think about it, the more I have to wonder if the world has slowly, unconsciously created Santa Claus to be a type of god. As humans, we were made to worship something or rather, Someone. It’s in our very nature. But we want who we worship to always agree with us and never ask anything hard of us. Since this isn’t true of Jesus who does ask us to do hard things and often has other (and always better) plans for us than we do for ourselves, it seems we have gone and created someone else who we find much more agreeable and complying and far less demanding.
Santa appears to have all the wonderful attributes of Jesus without the hard-to-swallow teachings like, “love your enemies” (Luke 6:35), “take up your cross daily and follow me,” and all who desire to be forgiven must extend forgiveness to all (Matt. 6:14-15).
Here are a few of the similarities I’ve noticed:
- Santa “sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake,” Jesus knows “when I sit and when I rise… (he) discerns my going out and my lying down” (Psalm 139:1-10)
- Santa and Jesus both care about our behavior towards one another and want us to be loving towards everyone
- Both have a list of who is naughty or nice and are just in their judgements (Revelation 20:11-15, Matt. 25:31-46)
- We come to both with our desires, requests and dreams with the expectation that they can and desire to give us the things we ask for (Matt. 7:7-11)
- Both are wholly good and trustworthy
- Neither of them play favorites but genuinely love and care for everyone equally
- The cheerfulness of “Jolly old St. Nicholas” reflects the nature of the Triune God, who is the most joy-filled being in the universe (Nehemiah 8:10)
- Santa is a father-figure; Jesus is the Son of the Father who loves His creation and invites us all to be His children (1 John 3:1)
- Both are approachable and welcoming, they invite young and old to come to them and sit on their lap as a child, if not a child by age than at least a child-at-heart. Jesus teaches that anyone who comes to the Father must come with child-like faith (Luke 18:17). Both particularly love and care for children
- Neither require us to do anything to gain their favor, they only ask that we believe in them wholeheartedly
- Both speak the language of every tribe, tongue and nation and are famous in all the world
- Magic or miracles? Both have a mysticism to them. They do things we can’t explain whether it is flying in a sleigh, going up and down chimney’s, raising the dead, healing the sick or creating the world out of nothing, both are well-known for their abilities to do the unexplainable.
- Santa has elves for helpers while Jesus has angels who serve Him
oh yeah, and we anticipate and celebrate both on the same day of the year…
I may have missed a few things. Feel free to add any other similarities you can think of in the comments below.
Is it just me or is this list long enough to think it a bit eerie how much Jesus and Santa seem to have in common?
Or is it just a “coincidence”?
The irony of it all is the real St. Nick, the original inspiration for who we know today as Santa Claus, was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century in Myra (modern day Turkey). He lived his life as he did all because of the life-giving relationship he had with Jesus. He lived joyfully, gave generously and followed the teachings of Jesus that he might point others to the one from whom comes every good and perfect gift, Jesus! (James 1:17).
Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Right down Santa Claus laneVixen, Blitzen, all his reindeerPulling on the reins
Bells are ringing, children singing
All is merry and bright
Hang your stockings and say a prayer
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonightHere comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Riding down Santa Claus laneHe’s got a bag that’s filled with toysFor boys and girls again
Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle
What a beautiful sight
Jump in bed and cover up your head
Because Santa Claus comes tonightHere comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Right down Santa Claus laneHe doesn’t care if you’re a rich or poor boy
He loves you just the same
Santa knows that we’re God’s children
That makes everything right
Fill your hears with Christmas cheer
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonightWell, here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Riding down Santa Claus laneHe’ll come around when the chimes ring out
It’s Christmas morn again
Peace on earth will come to all
If we just follow the light
Let’s give thanks to the Lord above
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight
Songwriters: Felix Bernard / Richard B Smith
Here Comes Santa Claus lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing