Advent Apologetics – What About Santa Claus?

  • The name Santa Claus is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name, Sinterklaas, which means, “Saint Nicholas”.
  • While today’s popular depictions of Santa Claus are clearly mythological, Nicholas was a real and very interesting historical figure. Nicholas was the 4th century Bishop of Myra, a city in present day Turkey.
  • Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift giving. For example, he was known to leave coins for people to find inside of their shoes.
  • Not only was Nicholas a generous gift giver, but he was also one of the Bishops present at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. where the biblical doctrine of the Trinity was defended and explained.
  • Tradition states that Nicholas was actually so upset by the heresy being promoted by Arius (the Arian heresy denied the deity of Jesus Christ) that he actually slapped him across the face during the council and was arrested. He later apologized and was freed.
  • Nicholas of Myra is an interesting figure in early church history and his story is worth sharing. It can even open up terrific witnessing opportunities with non-Christians when the topic of Santa Claus comes up at Christmastime.
  • As for our popular cultural depictions of Santa Claus, while the story of Santa can be fun and harmless, Christian parents should teach their children about the true nature of Santa Claus at an appropriate age.
  • Santa Claus and God can be easily confused in the minds of young children. Therefore, it is essential that Christian parents distinguish the fictitious Santa from the real God. God is the One who truly is omniscient and omnipresent; and He has given us the greatest Christmas gift of all (John 3:16)!