Is Santa Claus Replacing Jesus?

Not only are people lying to their children, they are essentially teaching them another Christ.

Introduction

The character of Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas, which means it started in the church—the Catholic Church to be specific. The Catholic Church canonizes people it thinks show exemplary character and thence forth they are referred to as Saint Whomever. For the man of legend to be called Saint Nicholas, he must have been exalted by the Catholic Church. While this may be the reason many Christians see no harm in teaching their children to write wish list to and leave out cookies for Santa Claus, it actually makes the truth more disheartening.

Santa Claus, who is subconsciously preferred to Jesus by little children, is actually a mimicry of God. Not only are people lying to their children, they are essentially teaching them another Christ.
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Santa vs. Jesus: The Comparison

As a child, I never paid attention to the similarities between Santa and Jesus, until I came across a comparison of the two. As I glanced at the list of comparisons in how Santa is depicted and how God and Jesus are depicted in the Bible, I knew I had to do some research (always research what you read, especially if you find it on the internet!). The original listing cites Bible verses for each comparison, but does not link or quote the verse. While researching the list, I found a similar list with minor differences, I am not sure which is the "original." When I refer to the "original" author as I discus the list, I am talking about the place I originally saw the list (Reference #1); the other list is also cited under references.[1][7] I will quote the verses below (or link them if it gets too long), discuss the comparison a bit, and add any of my extra findings.

Validated Comparisons

1) The White Hair and Beard

Photocredit: FreeImages.com/Marcelo Graciano (top) FreeImages.com/Stephen J. Sullivan (bottom)
Everyone knows Santa has white hair, every depiction of him shows a fat man with white hair. Even some of the more recent depictions of Santa as a Black man still give him a white beard (though sometimes the person opts for a more natural gray instead). Though never depicted as such, Jesus is also described as having white hair like wool. Wool comes from sheep like the one pictured to the left.

3And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;Revelation 1:13-14 KJV

9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. Daniel 7:9 KJV
Ancient of days, referred to in Daniel 7:9, is a title attributed to God that emphasizes the timelessness of God who was there at the very beginning of all things.[2][3] 2 of 3 definitions found by The Free Dictionary list Santa as having white hair or a white beard as though that is a fundamental part of his definition.[12]The original author cites Isaiah 50:6 as evidence that Jesus has a beard, and when I first read it, I didn't see the connection. However, when reading from Isaiah 50:1, it becomes obvious that God is speaking, but God also refers to God—just as Jesus refers to God the Father as God. The Messiah in Isaiah by I. Gordon gives a great walk through explaining why it is thought that the "I" in Isaiah 50:6 is Jesus; thus, confirming Jesus to have a beard. Notice also that while not as curly as wool, Santa's hair and beard are almost always depicted as being recognizably curly.
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2) Coming From the North Pole

Santa and his elves live in the North Pole; everyone knows this. According the original site, God is from the North as well and cites the following three passages as proof.

1Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, 3The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him. 4And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.Ezekiel 1:1-4 KJV

And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.Exodus 26:35 KJV

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.Psalm 48:2 KJV
The original author really only cites Ezekiel 1:4, not the entire Ezekiel 1:1-4, but I think context is needed for this verse. Ezekiel 1:4 doesn't tell us what this whirlwind from the north represents or why it appears. If we start from the beginning, we can see that a vision of God came to Ezekiel. This vision manifested itself as "a great cloud, and a fire" which is sounds a bit similar to the pillar of cloud God appeared as during the Israelite's journey from Egypt to the promised land in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Reading the entire chapter of Ezekiel 1, you will see that out of the whirlwind came cherubim and which ushered in the vision of God (Ezekiel 1:28). Therefore God appeared to Ezekiel from the North—not necessarily "The North Pole," but the general direction of the North.

Exodus 26:35 seems a bit odd to argue as evidence to me. In Exodus 26, God is telling the Israelites how to construct the tabernacle where He will appear (see the post on this passage here). The most holy object in the tabernacle with the Ark of the Testimony and the Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat, which sits on top of the Ark of the Testimony, was where God would sit. When I flipped to this passage, I was expecting it to say the Mercy Seat was to be placed in the north, but this passage says the table was to be placed to the North "without the vail." "Without the vail" means in front of the vail, and thus not in the holiest space. If the vail sat behind the table, this would indeed suggest God was residing and associated with the general direction of North. Exodus 40:22 actually makes this more clear. In this verse, God says the table should go "northward, without the vail." Between the two of these verses it seems more clear that the table is to go to the north, but not so far to the North that it is behind the vail. If the area without the vail is to the South, then God's presence appeared in the North.

Psalm 48:2 is self explanatory, though you might want to read all of Psalm 48 just to be sure. This passage is stating that Zion, God's great city, is to the North.[5]

As expected, nothing says God is from "The North Pole," but there is definitely an association with God appearing from out of the North, suggesting that this is just one more thing Santa steals from God.
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3) Omniscience

Santa is supposed to know everything the little kids do. How can Santa know if you've been good or bad if he isn't also omniscient or at the very least omnipresent? There is some amount of controversy over God's omniscience, but most who believe in Him will also easily cite God as being omniscient.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.Revelation 19:6 KJV
Revelation 19:6 tells us that God is in fact omnipotent, which means He must also be omniscient. If God can do anything, He can be anywhere (omnipresent). If God has limitless power, has been around since the beginning of time, and can be everywhere, He also knows everything. While the original author choses Revelation 19:6 to lead us to the conclusion that God is omniscient, another example is seen in Matthew 8. Jesus tells us God knows what we need before we ask; therefore, it is implied that He must be omniscient. Other examples of God's omniscience (cited by the author of the second list) can be found in Hebrews 4:13 and 1 John 3:20.
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4) Ageless and Eternal

The original poster suggests that Santa is ageless and eternal, like God. With the exception of The Santa Clause movie, there is no replacement in the legend of Santa. The same old guy that is supposed to be delivering gifts to children this December is the same old guy who was said to deliver gifts 200 years ago. No one ever talks about Santa dying, and though as adults we know the origin story of Santa traces him to the late 200s,[6] when telling his story to children no one ever mentions a beginning. To a child it is as though Santa has always existed and always will.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.Hebrews 13:8 KJV

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.Revelation 1:8 KJV

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.Revelation 21:6 KJV
God is clearly eternal. As is stated in the Bible in numerous places, He is the beginning and the end. Interestingly, The Washington Post wrote an article called "For older believers, Santa's magic is ageless." This further reiterates the fact that Santa (or in the case of the article, his magic) is presented as an ageless figure, just like God.
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5) List of Judgements

Both Jesus and Santa are attributed with the task of judging us.

Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.Revelation 14:7 KJV

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.Revelation 20:12 KJV

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.Revelation 21:27 KJV

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV
We are constantly told that Jesus will judge us, in fact the very end of the end of the world is called "Judgement Day." Granting presents to "good" children and coal to "bad" children is also a form of judgement. Santa makes a list of who's been "naughty or nice," which is eerily similar to Jesus' Book of Life.
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6) Gifts Based on a List

In Santa lore, you receive your gifts based up being on his "nice" list. The Bible tells us that Jesus has "The Book of Life" or the "Lamb's Book" which lists the name of those who will be rewarded with eternal life.

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.Revelation 21:27

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7) Yearly Reward / Giver of Gifts

Photocredit: FreeImages.com/weliton slima
The original author lists giving a gifts (or rewards) yearly as one of the comparisons while the second list merely mentions the giving of gifts. Clearly, Santa gives gifts at Christmas which comes once a year. What about God? The original author cites Leviticus 26:23-32, which discusses the Day of Atonement, one of the feast days required of the Israelites. While the Day of Atonement does come by once a year, and the gift of God's forgiveness was bestowed upon the Israelites, I'm not sure I would consider this is a valid comparison. God gives His children gifts whenever He decides, too; there's nothing to stop God from giving you a gift at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. It is valid to compare them both giving gifts, as the second list suggests.

6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.Ephesians 4:6-8 KJV

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8) Children, Obey Your Parents

Santa encourages good behavior, which includes obeying your parents (especially since your parents generally are Santa, of course they want you to listen to them). Both God and Jesus also encourage children to obey their parents. God gives us the commandment to honor our mother and father, which is also the only command that also comes with a reward (Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16). The original author cites the following in addition to the commandment.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.Ephesians 6:1 KJV

My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:Proverbs 6:20 KJV

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.Colossians 3:20 KJV

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9) Bid the Child to Come

Both Santa and Jesus focus on the children. Both lists include the bidding of children to come to them as a comparison. In malls across America, Santa sits so that little children can sit on his lap and tell him what they want.
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 19:14 KJV

15And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 17Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.Luke 18:15-17 KJV

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10) The Hour He Comes is a Mystery

Little kids stay up to catch a glimpse of Santa, but the trouble is, they don't know when he will arrive (and of course the fact that he doesn't exist). Does Santa come at 10pm or midnight or 2am? It is impossible to say. Depending on the craftiness of the parents, Santa may come in the middle of the day. This is yet another trait he stole from Jesus. No man knows the hour of His return, remember.

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.Luke 12:40 KJV

34But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.Mark 13:32-33 KJV

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.Matthew 24:36 KJV
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11) Rudolph and His Red Nose

You know the other reindeer, or maybe you don't, but you definitely know Rudolph. Rudolph has his own song dedicated to him, as well as a few cartoons that start airing in December. Rudolph is special because his red nose guides Santa through the night. How is this related to Jesus? Of course there is no red-nosed flying reindeer in the narrative of Jesus' birth, but there is a star. The star, which was seen in the air just like Rudolph flies in the air, leads the wise men to Jesus and signals His birth to the world. You can read about the star in Matthew 2. The star is mentioned as a dual reference to King David and Jesus in Numbers 24:17 as well.

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.Numbers 24:17 KJV
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12) Clothed in Red

Santa always wears a red suit with white trim. It's not stylish for any specific time period, and it doesn't really make much sense why he should be wearing such a suit. Guess who is described as wearing red in the Bible? The same person who later wears white, of course!

Photocredit: FreeImages.com/Bill Davenport
1Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?Isaiah 63:1-2 KJV
In Isaiah 63:1-2, God returns victorious from defeating the Israelites[9] wearing red garments. We are also told that Jesus is clothed in white.

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.Daniel 7:9 KJV

And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.Luke 9:29 KJV

And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.Luke 9:3 KJV

Matthew 28:3 and Matthew 17:2 also describe Jesus as wearing white.
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13) Twinkle in His Eye

According to a nursery rhyme, Santa has a twinkle in his eye. Jesus' eyes in Revelation 1:14 and Revelation 2:18 are described as fire. To twinkle means to shine or gleam and is often used to describe stars. Stars are balls of burning gas, therefore stars appear as round fire. Although it is not commonly stated that Jesus has a twinkle in His eye, it stands to reason that if His eyes are like fire, they appear like stars, and thus twinkle.
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14) Around the World in One Day

Santa manages to deliver toys to all the houses in the world in one day. The original author sites Isaiah 47:9, 2 Peter 3:8, and Revelation 18:8 as evidence that God can accomplish such a feat in one day. I prefer Revelation 1:7.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.Revelation 1:7 KJV
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15) Absolute Truth vs. Fable

God represents absolute truth; this is confirmed in John 14:6. Yet, Santa is the antithesis of this.
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.1 Timothy 1:4 KJV

But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.1 Timothy 4:7 KJV

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.2 Timothy 4:4 KJV
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16) Coming as a Thief in the Night

Perhaps one of most popular quotes from the New Testament is that Jesus will come like a thief in the night (see 1 Thessalonians 5:2). How does Santa enter into the house? He certainly doesn't knock on the front door. In the movie Friday After Next, a thief actually uses a Santa costume to rob houses.
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17) Throne

Jesus sits on a throne in Heaven, after all He is King. Why does Santa sit on a throne? In malls or on floats, Santa never sits in a regular chair, he's always on a throne. Who made Santa king of something?
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.Revelation 5:1 KJV

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdomHebrew 1:8 KJV
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18) Father Christmas

Interesting that Father Christmas, a title you would think would belong to the Father in Heaven (at least it would if Christmas had anything to do with Christ). Instead, Father Christmas refers to Santa Claus. Tell me, how is he the father of a holiday meant to exalt the Son of God unless he is God the Father? Since we know Santa is not real and we know that he isn't God the Father, he can't possibly be the father of Jesus' holiday. Yet, he is the father of Christmas, which only confirms that Christmas is not about Jesus.

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.Matthew 23:9 KJV
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19) Kriss Kringle

Like God, Santa has many names; St. Nick, Father Christmas (mentioned above), and Kriss Kringle are some of the most popular. Why does Santa need all of these names? I digress, the second list asserts that Kris Kringle translates to "Christ child." This is confirmed in Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Not only is Kriss Kringle said to originate from the German Christkindl which means "Christ child," the definition is listed as Santa Claus.[11] Thus Merriam-Webster is telling us that Christ child and Santa Claus are synonymous—I think not.
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20) Ho Ho Ho

"Ho Ho Ho" is the catchphrase of Santa; this may be the only thing some kids know Santa can say. Interestingly, this phrase has origins in the Bible. Not only does "Ho Ho" appear in the Bible, it appears as words attributed to God.

Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord.Zechariah 2:6 KJV

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Invalid Comparison

Check the List Twice?

The original author of the list cites Daniel 8:14, Matthew 10:26, 1 Corinthians 5:10, but none of these say anything about checking the Book of Life twice. This "comparison" is not included in the second list I found. The only thing I found Jesus doing twice is checking on the disciples after the Passover, before His crucifixion (Matthew 26).
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Confessing

We know that we must confess our sins to Jesus (and repent) to be forgiven, but the original author is suggesting the same is true for Santa. I don't remember ever confessing my wrong doings to Santa. There is a production in Vegas that mimics the Catholic style of confessing to a priest with Santa Claus, perhaps this is what the author was alluding to?[8] I don't think the average person thinks of Santa as someone they have to confess to.
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Other Comparisons Made

Some of the comparisons made between the two list I found, I am still working to validate and or explain. I have listed them below.
Jesus' TraitSanta's Trait
Lord of hosts (Malachi 3:5; Isaiah 8:13; Psalms 24:10)Lord over a host of elves
Prince of Peace(Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:3)Symbol of world peace
Worthy of prayers and worshipPrayers and worship of "St. Nick"
Lives in menLives in children

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Discussion

Santa is not only a distraction for the holiday, but appears to be a replacement or substitute for Jesus. Santa is one of many things in our society that is exalted in place of Jesus. Note the greek word αντι, which translates to the "anti" in antichrist, means "in place of."[10]
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References

  1. Nicholas. "Christmas". RemnantofGod.org. 2015
  2. "What does it mean that God is the Ancient of Days?". GotQuestions.org. 2015
  3. Treybig, David. ". Life, Hope, & Truth. 2015
  4. Gordon, I. "The Messiah in Isaiah". Jesus Plus Nothing. 2015
  5. "What is Zion?". GotQuestions.org. 2015
  6. A&E Television Networks. "Santa Claus". History. 2015
  7. "Jesus Christ vs Santa Claus: Santa truly has been created to be a counterfeit Jesus to the Secular World!". Cutting Edge. 2015
  8. Cannon, Camille. "Confess Your Sins to Santa". Vegas Seven. March 2015
  9. Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible. pg. 1210. 2014
  10. "500. antichristos". BibleHub. 2015
  11. "Kriss Kringle". Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. 2015
  12. "Santa Claus". The Free Dictionary. 2015

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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